A major player in the online collection and distribution of real estate listings information is under new ownership — the second such deal in as many weeks.
Yardi Systems, a real estate investment and property management software company based in Goleta, Calif., has acquired Saskatoon, Canada-based Point2 Technology Inc., a software company specializing in the distribution of property information and other tools and services for the residential real estate and heavy equipment industries.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Yardi Systems officials were not immediately available for comment.
Just days ago, on Sept. 21, Realtor.com operator Move Inc. completed a deal to acquire Threewide Corp., which operates ListHub, a national property listings syndication platform that distributes an estimated 2.4 million property listings from about 270 MLSs and 38,000 brokers to a group of about 70 real estate websites.
Yardi, a nearly 30-year-old company that has offices in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America, has historically focused on commercial and multifamily real estate sectors, and broadened its operations with its acquisition of real estate data company PropertyShark, announced in April.
PropertyShark has rich data on a range of property types and also offers a search portal featuring for-sale properties.
Point2 has its own search portal, Point2Homes.com, and receives property listings information from about 154 multiple listing services and real estate associations, which together represent about 270,000 agents. And the company distributes property information — at latest count about 1 million active, for-sale listings — to about 56 portals.
Saul Klein, a real estate technology pioneer who since 2008 has served as CEO for Point2 Technologies, and also serves as president of online community and technology company InternetCrusade, said the acquisition is a natural fit for both companies.
"For (Yardi) it’s just a natural movement into another segment of an industry for which they’re already deeply embedded," Klein said. "For us, we grow with an entity that has resources beyond (ours)."
Klein said the entire Point2 staff and management team will remain in place — Point 2 has about 120 employees total in its Saskatoon and Vancouver offices.
Anant Yardi, president of Yardi Systems, said in a statement, "Point2’s strengths and solid market penetration create a significant growth opportunity for our companies. We look forward to capitalizing on Yardi’s capabilities in combination with Point2’s expertise and traction to take the business to the next level."
Klein said that his first interaction with Yardi as a company was during the 1980s, when he was working as a property manager and used Yardi’s software. In those days, he was running the software on an Apple II computer, he recalled.
Klein said he was surprised to learn — when he became engaged in acquisition discussions with the company in June this year — how much the company had grown and diversified.
The company late last year "set out on this road to find a partner or acquirer to help take Point2 to the next level," Klein said.
Real estate syndication is evolving rapidly across the industry, Klein said, and "the direction in which this is going is very positive."
Move’s acquisition of ListHub’s parent company, Threewide, announced earlier this month, represents a notable leap for the adoption and acceptance of syndication across the real estate industry.
"We’ve been saying for years that distribution trumps destination," Klein said. "Getting listings information to different places is more important than getting it to one place.
He also said that listings syndication is one of the most cost-effective ways to generate business for real estate professionals, and noted, "The whole concept of syndication is still in a state of evolution."
The industry is still grappling to put a price tag on real estate data, he said.
Klein noted that he had written about the concept for a "Property Wiki," or a rich repository for property information, in 2008, and it "has almost now become a universal thought — and I think that’s a good thing."
Since then, the National Association of Realtors has launched Realtors Property Resource (RPR), a database of property information, after acquiring key technology from Lender Processing Services Inc. in a deal announced in November 2009.
RPR launched last week for two MLSs, and more than 100 MLSs representing about 265,000 Realtors — out of about 1.1 million total Realtors — have signed up for RPR and will license listings data for sold properties in exchange for access to the national database, Inman News has reported.
NAR’s plans for RPR accelerated a competition among several players to gain deeper access to MLS data.
Realtor.com operator Move Inc. last week announced it has entered into data deals or pending agreements with about 17 MLSs related to its search platform, dubbed "Find," while data company CoreLogic last month announced data agreements with a group of eight MLSs that together represent about 82,000 real estate professionals, for example.
A series of data aggregation and syndication have cropped up since the RPR announcement last year.
In addition to Move Inc.’s acquisition of ListHub parent Threewide and Yardi’s acquisition of Point2, online real estate client management and marketing services company Listingbook announced last month that it was taking over the Cyberhomes.com platform from LPS Real Estate Group Inc.
Listingbook has relationships with about 40 MLSs that together represent about 500,000 agents, Inman News reported last month, while Cyberhomes has relationships with an estimated 300 MLSs and 250 brokerage companies, and provides data for about 3.2 million property listings.
Additionally, major real estate search portals Zillow and Yahoo Real Estate teamed up for a listings and advertising alliance, announced in July.
The bulk of Point2’s syndication agreements are with MLSs, Klein noted, and the company also accepts property data from brokers and agents.
The company does not charge for its basic syndication service or analytics reporting related to its syndication service, but does offer enhanced services for a paid subscription that can range from $19.99 to $119.95 per month.
Point2 offers to pay MLSs and associations residuals of up to 10 percent "when you encourage your members to adopt and use the enhanced tools available by upgrading" to any of the company’s three subscription packages, according to an online description of services.
The company allows its users to control which properties are syndicated, and to which sites they are syndicated.