In a move that the participating companies say will create the largest real estate photography network in the U.S., VHT Studios announced Thursday that it is acquiring rival TourFactory.
Both VHT and TourFactory operate networks of photographers that work with real estate professionals. The new acquisition will see VHT take over TourFactory’s network and platform, though both brand names will continue to exist for the time being. At the same time, TourFactory parent company Collabra Technology is taking an ownership stake in VHT and will offer a variety of marketing products such as websites to VHT users.
“Collabra will continue to provide its industry-leading listing marketing technology through the TourFactory network,” a statement from the companies explained. “In addition, VHT Studios will now become a sales channel for Collabra’s powerhouse marketing solutions providing current and prospective VHT customers with access to Collabra technology.”
In a call with Inman, Collabra CEO Russ Cofano said that while the deal is an acquisition, it also looks like a partnership due to the two firm’s new and intertwined relationship.
“Yes it’s an acquisition technically, but it has the wrapper of a merger and partnership with each other,” Cofano explained.
He added that the deal was structured “to make sure there was a continuity of service level and quality” for both TourFactory and VHT users.
“Yes there’s a different owner, but the service level is going to be the same,” he noted.
Financial details of the deal were not publicly disclosed.
Brian Balduf, VHT’s chairman and CEO, told Inman the deal means “more services, more support, more resources” for clients. He went on to explain that both companies have existed for years and conversations about a potential union happened periodically over that time.
Efforts to join forces reignited in earnest about 18 months ago, but the process “snapped” when Cofano took the reins at Collabra in August, Balduf recalled.
“This is two of the oldest and most recognized brands in real estate photography coming together,” he added.
VHT has operated since the late 1990s. The company’s imaging professionals can do photography as well as 3D tours, interactive floor plans and virtual staging, among other things. The company specializes in working with enterprise clients and national brands.
TourFactory also began more than two decades ago. The company merged with software startup Proxio in 2018 to create Collabra.
Balduf said both VHT and TourFactory typically photograph around 200,000 houses per year, and have collectively created images of millions of homes. Their combined network is also available in 48 U.S. states. For those reasons, Balduf and Cofano characterized the resulting firm as the largest real estate photography network in the country.
In a statement, Cofano also called VHT “a foundational business partner to the nation’s leading brokerages, builders and property management firms.”
“This combination and our resulting partnership provides the best of both worlds,” Cofano concluded, “making it even easier for real estate professionals to work with the top creative talent in their markets and have access to powerful marketing tools as well.”