Late yesterday, it was announced that Move, Inc. (a subsidiary of News Corporation, and operator of realtor.com) and the National Association of Realtors entered into a settlement agreement and release with Zillow, Errol Samuelson, and Curt Beardsley after a lengthy legal battle (background here).
Zillow will pay Move $130 million by June 20th, 10 percent of which goes to NAR (after deduction of Move’s legal fees) as part of the settlement.
NAR President Tom Salomone said in a statement that they are “pleased” that a settlement has been reached instead of going to trial, adding that all parties have reached an “amicable resolution.”
Where will the money go?
He noted that “NAR’s relationship with Move, Inc., and realtor.com® is based on a mutual respect for Realtors® and their efforts to bring online home buying and selling resources to consumers.”
Salomone says NAR hopes the funds Move is entitled to will be invested in initiatives that enhance the consumer experience and benefit NAR members in support of the Realtor® brand.
So what of that 10% headed NAR’s way? Salomone said, “After this amount is determined, NAR’s Leadership Team will consider how best to apply those funds in service of NAR’s Realtor® members; we will share that information as soon as a decision is made.”
The bottom line
The industry has watched this lawsuit for the past few years with intrigue, mostly because it involves the biggest brands in the industry, and sounds like juicy espionage. Without a trial, outsiders will never quite know the extent of what did or did not happen, but we are certain that people on both sides of the fence will continue to discuss the Move exodus to Zillow and all of the fallout.
In 2014, we posed 12 questions specifically regarding Samuelson’s exit from Move, some of which will remain unanswered in the absence of a trail, which is why folklore will last for decades regarding what happened when Zillow went on an aggressive talent grab.