Zillow CEO talks earnings, offerings

Second-quarter revenue tops Wall Street's view, but shares fall as the company files a shelf offering to potentially raise $150 million.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 8, 2012 10:32AM

By Chris Ciaccia

Zillow(Z) shares fell sharply in after-hours action Tuesday, despite the online real estate information company beating Wall Street's revenue expectations in its latest quarter on strength in its mobile and Web monetization efforts.

Seattle-based Zillow earned $1.3 million, or 4 cents a share, on revenue of $27.8 million for the three months ended June 30. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for earnings of 4 cents per share on $27.14 million in revenue in the quarter.

Revenue jumped 75% year-over-year, thanks in part to growth in the company's marketplace business, which saw revenue more than double to $19.6 million in the latest quarter.

In an exclusive interview with TheStreet, CEO Spencer Rascoff said Zillow's ad unit is viewed by the user as a service, rather than a nuisance. "You see ads for home shopping. That's a way to see the house. There's a way to see the house is overpriced. That's markedly different than most other apps. The ad is a service not a nuisance."

The company had $78 million in cash and short-term investments at the quarter's end, but filed a shelf offering to raise more than $150 million. When asked why the company would file a shelf now, Rascoff said it's customary for a company that has been public for a year to file a shelf offering, but nothing has been done in terms of selling more stock yet.

"It gives us flexibility should we decide to do the offering. We want to be all inclusive in the shelf. It's a lot easier to raise the size of a shelf than an offering," Rascoff noted. The company recent closed its acquisition of RentJuice, a rental relationship software company for roughly $40 million in cash.

Zillow also provided third-quarter guidance that is largely in line with Wall Street's expectations. The company expects third-quarter revenue of between $30 million and $31 million, and adjusted EBITDA ranging from $4.75 million to $5.25 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are currently looking for $30.46 million in revenue and $5.19 million in EBITDA.

Shares of Zillow rose 5.4% to close Tuesday's regular trading at $41.76. The stock was last quoted at $37.98, down 9%, on volume of more than 40,000, according to Nasdaq.com.

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