There is City speculation that Rightmove and Zoopla could merge, according to the London Evening Standard.
It follows the acquisition of US portal Trulia by its bigger rival Zillow, who have agreed a £2.1bn deal.
The speculation is run under the headline “City bets on Zoopla and Rightmove after US mega-merger”.
The story quotes analyst Joe Rundle, of ETX Capital, who says: “[Rightmove and Zoopla] have to keep growing and monetising and there probably will have to be some consolidation in the sector to reduce cost base.
“There will be pressure on these guys to merge.”
Hmm. We’re not too sure where the pressure would come from – Rightmove investors must surely be delighted with yesterday’s results showing a 74.1% profit margin, which doesn’t exactly suggest that Rightmove needs to do much in the way of improving cost control or how it monetises itself.
As for Zoopla, it is very new on the stock market and most analysts seem to think the business is undervalued and should grow strongly.
Indeed, on Tuesday, Credit Suisse set Zoopla an “outperform” rating, saying its shares should reach 290p, so presumably its shareholders are looking for the delights still to come.
So, we can’t see either sets of shareholders hoping, let alone pressing, for a marriage.
By the way, nor can we exactly see Zoopla boss Alex Chesterman reporting to Rightmove boss Nick McKittrick – in the way that Trulia’s chief has agreed to report to Zillow’s boss.
Certain things in life just don’t happen and this is one of them.
And nor, given how long it took to get the merger of the Daily Mail’s portals and Zoopla through the Office of Fair Trading, can we begin to see a merger of Zoopla and Rightmove getting off the staring blocks in terms of the competition authorities.
Yesterday, Zoopla shares ended down 5.5p at 250p.
Rightmove shares ended down 31p at 2238p despite their excellent results: that’s the way the stock market works.