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Sunday, July 21, 2024 | Back issues
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Trulia Asks Court to Block Breaking of Deal

(CN) - Trulia Inc. and Zillow will lose a chief supply of real estate listings data if a judge fails to intervene by Thursday, a suit filed in San Francisco claims.

In a lawsuit filed Friday in San Francisco Superior Court, Trulia, giant in Internet real estate listings, says it was shocked to learn with just one week notice that a long time and critical provider of its listings intended to pull the plug on their relationship by the end of this week.

Trulia's lawsuit seeks a restraining order that would preserve the existing contract terms between it and Move Sales Inc., the operator of ListHub.

ListHub is a division of Move Sales that compiles listings of new residential properties for sale from the Multiple Listing Service, which is known as the MLS.

Trulia has relied on ListHub since 2009, according to the lawsuit, and their latest agreement is not set to expire until June 2016.

Currently, more than 25 percent of Trulia's listings come from ListHub, Trulia says, and "listings data is the lifeblood that fuels the businesses of real estate portals."

As a result, Trulia says, the abrupt termination of that contract would have a devastating impact on its business.

The company says the move is an attempt to direct information about new homes for sale to Move Sales' own real estate website portal, called Realtor.com.

"Move Sales thus anticipatorily breached the agreement by announcing its intention to unilaterally and wrongfully terminate the agreement, discontinue Trulia's data feed, and cease to provide Trulia with licensed content as required by the agreement," the complaint says.

The company is asking the court to issue "an injunction to require that Move Sales not terminate or immediately reinstate Trulia's feed of Listings Data and all other licensed content and abide by the terms and conditions of the Agreement. In the meantime, to preserve and restore the status quo, Trulia is also concurrently seeking a temporary restraining order."

"Unless injunctive relief is granted to, among other things, maintain or reinstate Trulia's data feed, Trulia will suffer, and continue to suffer, irreparable harm to its business and its reputation with its customers."

The situation is critical, Trulia claims, because "Move Sales has obtained almost absolute control over the ability of real estate portal operators that compete against Move, such as Trulia and Zillow, to obtain comprehensive and accurate listings data from other syndicators, MLS organizations, or directly from brokers."

Trulia hints at a troubled relationship leading up its request for court intervention: "Move Sales has previously used that power to prevent Trulia from operating its own listings syndicator, and has attempted to use that power to limit Trulia's ability to reduce its dependence on ListHub."

Zillow Group consummated a $2.5 billion merger with Trulia last week, two days before Move Sales gave notice it wants to back out as Trulia's supplier. Prior to the union, Zillow and Trulia were the top two real estate portals.

The complaint states that Move Sales is a subsidiary of News Corp. that is owned and operated in affiliation with the National Association of Realtors.

Trulia is represented by Charles Samel of Perkins Coie in Los Angeles.

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