CoStar Buys LoopNet

Commercial real estate data company CoStar Group Inc. has acquired San Francisco-based competitor LoopNet Inc. for $860 million.
The acquisition brings D.C.-based CoStar’s total active listings to 2 million. CoStar will fund the deal with a $415 million loan and $50 million revolving credit facility from J.P. Morgan. Under the deal, announced Wednesday and expected to close by the end of 2011, LoopNet shareholders will receive $16.50 per share and .037 shares of CoStar stock for each share of LoopNet stock they own. The deal represents a 31 percent premium to LoopNet’s closing price Tuesday. LoopNet’s stock ended Wednesday at $14.37 per share.
CoStar, which was founded in 1987 and went public in 1998, has 1,500 employees worldwide.

CoStar and LoopNet will continue to operate under their respective brands, though there will be some shifting of employees between LoopNet’s San Francisco and Los Angeles offices and CoStar’s D.C. headquarters. The exact numbers remain unclear.
“With CoStar, people think about information, leasing, big U.S. cities. When people think about LoopNet, they think mainstreet commercial real estate and suburb an market sales,” said CoStar CEO Andy Florance.

Florance said integrating the behind-the-scenes data will help improve the quality of LoopNet listings.
The two companies have sparred in legal battles over copyright issues in the past, but Florance said his perspective — and relationship with LoopNet and its CEO Rich Boyle — has evolved over time.
“People typically buy LoopNet for marketing and CoStar for information. I didn’t fully understand that until the mid-2000s and then it became obvious,” Florance said.
Separately on Wednesday, CoStar reported first-quarter results, posting $59.6 million in quarterly sales, up $1.4 million from a year ago. Net income was $4.5 million, or 22 cents per share, compared with $2.9 million, or 14 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2010.
Source: WBJ


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