Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to note that an offering of Zillow shares that closed Sept. 24 was a follow-on offering dilutive to existing shareholders, not a secondary offering of previously issued shares. .
Shares in real estate portal Trulia Inc. surged nearly 50 percent today from their opening price of $17, demonstrating investors’ enthusiasm in the company’s business model and future prospects.
San Francisco-based Trulia priced its initial public offering last night at $17 per share, which, after deducting expenses like underwriting discounts and commissions, will net the company $75.1 million for the 5 million shares it sold in today’s offering.
That total could rise to $89.3 million if underwriters exercise an option to buy up to 900,000 additional shares in the next 30 days, the company said in its latest regulatory filing.
A number of existing shareholders including co-founders Sami Inkinen and Pete Flint put up another 1 million shares in the IPO. In midafternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Trulia’s shares were trading at nearly $25 per share, with volume of more than 9.5 million shares.
Trulia rival Zillow Inc.’s July 2011 IPO of 3.7 million shares raised $75.7 million for the company. Zillow shares, with an initial price of $20, jumped about 75 percent in their first day of trading. On Sept. 6, Zillow announced a follow-on offering of 4 million shares priced at $43 a share, which the company now estimates will raise $156.7 million after expenses.
Trulia’s stock "was double digit times oversubscribed," Scott Sweet, founder of research firm IPOBoutique, told CNNMoney.
Trulia says it may use a portion of the money it raises "to acquire or invest in complementary businesses, products, services, technologies, or other assets."
Trulia acquired Movity, a startup that helps homebuyers and renters learn more about the area they’re considering living in, in December 2010.
As Trulia joins online home search competitors Realtor.com and Zillow in the public realm, industry leaders are watching.
The three portals dominate national online Web traffic among real estate-related websites, according to Web metrics firm Experian Hitwise. In June, Trulia leapfrogged Realtor.com to No. 2 for monthly website traffic, according to Hitwise.
"I wonder how many companies like this the industry can support," said Greg Robertson, co-founder of real estate software company W&R Studios. "There are a limited number of real estate professionals who they all are vying to sell services to," he said.
Zillow sued Trulia last week. "I don’t know if this (suit) will materially harm Trulia’s IPO, but it certainly does suggest that the battle to win online real estate is only going to get rougher," wrote Brian Boero, partner of real estate consulting firm 1000watt, in a blog post.
In afternoon trading, shares of Realtor.com operator Move Inc. were little changed from their previous close of $8.73, while Zillow was trading up about 1 percent from Wednesday’s close of $45.55.
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