Trulia uses social during Market Leader acquisition

SAN FRANCISCO: Real estate website operator Trulia is emphasizing Twitter in its communications about its acquisition of software company Market Leader.

SAN FRANCISCO: Real estate website operator Trulia is emphasizing Twitter in its communications about its acquisition of software company Market Leader.

Trulia said this week that it agreed to purchase Market Leader, the maker of a software platform for real estate agents, for $355 million. It is Trulia's first major acquisition. The deal is expected to close this fall.

Following the announcement, the company is employing an “open and sharing social strategy as part of this campaign,” said Trulia VP of communications Ken Shuman. For example, Trulia tweeted a photo of its CEO Pete Flint speaking to employees about the acquisition at a company-wide meeting.

Trulia is also reaching out to national, broadcast, and local media, particularly outlets in the Seattle area, where Market Leader is based.

“We're doing a lot of local PR in the Seattle community so they understand what's happening to the company and our plans to grow it,” Shuman said.

Trulia sent letters and held phone calls with industry partners, published blog posts, and conducted meetings with employees to explain the acquisition. Flint participated in Market Leader's employee meeting through Google Hangouts.

Abernathy MacGregor Group assisted Trulia with communications for the transaction. The agency worked with Trulia on its IPO last year and continues to assist the company with business press and corporate PR, Shuman said. Trulia handles the majority of its PR in-house.

Trulia worked closely with Market Leader's CMO to prepare communications about the deal, Shuman added.

Following the acquisition, Market Leader will retain its brand and operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Trulia. It will also keep its leadership team and does not plan to lay off employees. Market Leader has about 280 employees, while Trulia has approximately 550.

The combined company's headquarters will be in San Francisco, where Trulia is based, but Market Leader will keep its offices in Kirkland, WA, and Denver, CO.

Trulia's website matches real estate agents and properties with potential buyers and renters. Market Leader helps agents manage their businesses online with services such as marketing and lead generation tools, a website builder, and contact management.

“Agents spend 50% of their day inside Market Leader matching people to homes and finding the right things. It's their lifeblood,” Shuman said. “[The acquisition] was a natural fit. Put the two companies together, and it's a powerful combination.”

The deal will help Trulia compete with rival Zillow, which went public in 2011 and has announced four acquisitions in the past year.

In March, Trulia promoted Shuman, who joined the company in 2008, to VP of communications.

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