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Brand names move into technology space

Part 2: Real estate industry ripe for consolidation

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Editor's note: The fragmented real estate industry seems to be consolidating. But is it really? And is it good for the consumer? This four-part series looks at the trend of consolidation, who wins, who loses, and who is driving it. (See Part 1: NRT: The mega consolidator; Part 3: Smaller lenders see opportunity in mergers; and Part 4: Brokerages combine while market explodes.) In the last year, some name-brand companies have invaded the real estate technology space, buying up companies in the Internet and software categories: First there was Fidelity National Information Solutions, then there was Barry Diller's InterActiveCorp. Then Prudential bought eRealty and First American bought a slew of smaller technology firms. Industry insiders say several firms are on the block and others are in discussion to be bought out. For a while, observers may have imagined a world where these giants might gobble up the entire category. But the jury is still out on how much consolidation will occur. S...