Enough people who were at the Inman Real Estate Connect show have come forward or made comments now that this needs to be clarified: “Google to Scoop Up Real Estate Sites.” I wasn’t there and was writing based on vicarious information.
Here was the quote, from Google’s Sam Sebastian, as it was reported:
“We’re actively looking to acquire one to two small real estate companies a month.”
Apparently that’s a misquote. Rather, he said something more like this: “We’re actively looking to acquire one to two companies a month.”
In the context of a real estate conference and discussion about the Google-Trulia acquisition rumor it’s easy to see how this could be taken as a statement that Google will be acquiring real estate companies specifically.
Here’s what Google CEO Eric Schmidt said during the Q3 earnings call about acquisitions:
The way we think about acquisitions is we have historically done an acquisition, perhaps one a month or so. And those are typically small and they are typically complete an offering, they are typically technology intensive, they’re not very expensive in the scheme of things and they bring some specific technology.
Sebastian may have been repeating this “generic” comment about Google’s policy and attitude toward acquisitions in general rather than commenting on real estate acquisitions in particular.
Yet I would still bet that Google is going to do some real estate acquisitions because it’s a local-vertical that’s very lucrative and important to consumers.