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Zillow shares soar after lawsuit settlement, Barclays upgrade

Shares of online real estate firm Zillow gained more than 5 percent Tuesday as investors cheered a lawsuit settlement with rival firm Move, which is owned by News Corp, and the National Association of Realtors.

The parties settled the suit for $130 million, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, well below the approximate $2 billion Move was seeking in damages. Move was also seeking sanctions against Zillow over trade secrets and personnel.

Analysts at Barclays upgraded the stock to "equal weight" from "underweight" and raised their price target to $32 from $20 after the announcement.

"We were expecting either a negative judgment against Zillow or a settlement of at least $500 million, given an adverse inference instruction to the jury about evidence spoliation heading into the trial — so we view this outcome as highly favorable for ZG," Barclays analysts said in a Tuesday note to clients.

Analysts at Janney Montogomery Scott reiterated their "market outperform" rating and their $35 price target after the announcement, saying, "the settlement does not alter any of Zillow's business practices, is strictly monetary, and was settled amicably and with prejudice."

In their Tuesday note, they added, "With the suit now behind it, we believe the company can focus solely on the operations of its newer products and services, such as the Premier Agent Concierge (PAC), the updated Premier Agent app, and the pending national roll-out of the self-serve Premier Agent ad buying tool."

Zillow's stock has been on fire this year, rising 24 percent, and gaining more than 28 percent over the past three months.

Z 3-month chartSource: FactSet