Zillow Declines to 17-Month Low After Finance Chief Resigns

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Zillow website

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Zillow Group Inc. fell to its lowest point in more than a year, after the real-estate listings website said Chief Financial Officer Chad Cohen is stepping down.

The shares dropped 7.7 percent to close at $78.67 in New York, reaching their lowest point since February 2014.

Cohen will depart next month, after Zillow reports second-quarter earnings, to pursue other business interests, the Seattle-based company said in a statement Thursday. A spokeswoman for Zillow declined to elaborate and said Cohen wasn’t available to comment.

His departure “serves as a direct rebuke to the lofty rhetoric Zillow management has been doling out about the company’s total addressable market for the past 5 years,” Bradley Safalow, an analyst at PAA Research LLC, wrote in a report. Traffic at its Trulia operation has “slowed meaningfully” since Zillow acquired the rival site in February, he wrote.

Safalow has a sell recommendation on the stock and a price target of $50. Fourteen analysts surveyed by Bloomberg have an average 12-month price target of $110.07 for Zillow.

The company has faced escalated competition with Realtor.com since its parent was acquired by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. last year. Meanwhile, the housing market has gathered steam.

The shares are down 37 percent from their peak this year on Feb. 18, when Zillow acquired Trulia.

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