Real estate site Zillow jumps on IPO

By Associated Press
July 21, 2011

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NEW YORK - Investors set aside housing market doldrums and rushed to grab shares of real estate website Zillow yesterday, valuing the company at as much as $1.6 billion.

Zillow Inc., which has never made a profit, is yet another beneficiary of strong investor demand for the latest crop of Internet stocks.

Many of the recent market debutantes provide social networking, online games, or search. Zillow’s shares tripled in their trading debut on the Nasdaq stock market. Zillow had set a price of $20 for its stock late Tuesday.

The weak housing market did not hurt Zillow’s initial public offering. Figures released yesterday show that Americans are buying homes at the weakest pace in 14 years.

Zillow’s IPO follows filings by high-profile Internet companies ranging from daily deals site Groupon Inc., the professional networking service LinkedIn Corp., along with Zynga Inc. best known for the online game “FarmVille.’’

Though these companies generate a lot of IPO euphoria, the attention they receive on their initial day of trading has not guaranteed success.

Pandora Inc., the online radio service, has seen it shares fluctuate wildly since going public on June 14. Pandora’s shares are now trading at $17.60, 10 percent above their offer price.

Founded in 2004, Zillow provides online listings for more than 100 million homes that are either for sale or for rent.