CoStar's $250 million acquisition of portal company Homesnap was given the all-clear by the Federal Trade Commission yesterday as the commercial real estate giant continues down its path into residential real estate. The deal, which was first announced in November, sees CoStar take control of a company which works with MLSs around the country to build out public-facing property portals with their collaboration.
Following the takeover of his company, Homesnap CEO John Mazur told Inman this week that there are no plans to abandon the Broker Public Portal Project. The project which sees brokerages and MLSs collaborate to build out user-friendly local portals is something that Homesnap has been involved in for some time and, according to Mazur, is something that his new bosses at CoStar are on board with:
“[BPP] is something we’re committed to, and in the case of CoStar, it’s definitely something they love and are committed to,
Homesnap's acquisition looks set to allow CoStar to start a proxy portal war in New York where the traditional lack of a cogent MLS, among other factors, has lead to Zillow owned StreetEasy dominating the market and becoming as unpopular with local agents as Rightmove is in the UK. It has been reported that plans are afoot for Homesnap to work with the Real Estate Board of New York to build an alternative portal and take Zillow on in an increasingly competitive market in the Big Apple.
It's not all been good news for CoStar recently though, as the company still has pending business with the FTC despite this week's approval. Earlier this month the company's proposed $587 million takeover of financially floundering rental portal operator RentPath hit the rocks as the FTC sued for an alleged breach of competition law. CoStar already owns and operates Apartments.com, ApartmentFinder.com and ForRent.com with the FTC's contention being that if it were to add RentPath's portal assets Rent.com and ApartmentGuide.com the Washington based company would have a stranglehold on landlords and agents looking to advertise their properties.