Report: Zillow Hires Bankers Ahead of IPO

3/16/11Follow @curtwoodward

Seattle real-estate website Zillow.com has hired Citigroup to manage an initial public offering, Bloomberg reports, citing unnamed sources. Bloomberg said its sources didn’t identify any timeline for a possible Zillow IPO. The company hasn’t yet filed an S-1 prospectus to declare its IPO plans, which would identify its underwriters, and reveal how much cash it hopes to raise.

Zillow had a pretty big year in 2010. In July, the company partnered with Yahoo Real Estate, creating the largest real estate advertising network in the industry. It inked another partnership in the fall, this one with Chicago-based Apartments.com to create a more comprehensive national database of apartment listings. And after bringing in nearly $90 million in financing over its lifespan, executives said Zillow was profitable.

Spencer Rascoff was promoted to chief executive last fall, taking over for co-founder Rich Barton. At that time, Rascoff said the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace was its fastest-growing business. That feature lets consumers anonymously shop for mortgage rates in different markets around the country.

Zillow recently extended its brand of pricing estimates—or “Zestimates”—to apartment listings, trying to capitalize on the rush of renters as the homebuying market remains in the doldrums. If Zillow really does intend to go ahead with its IPO, we’ll soon see much documentation of how much revenue and profit it is really making from its Zestimates, and how much of a market it still sees for home price data in the wake of the housing bust.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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