The Real Deal National

Compass reaches legal settlement with Zillow over poaching at its Seattle tech hub

Zillow suit accused Compass of poaching three tech execs in Seattle
By E.B. Solomont | July 10, 2019 02:34PM

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin and Zillow CEO Rich Barton

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin and Zillow CEO Rich Barton

Zillow Group and Compass have buried the hatchet over allegations that the SoftBank-backed brokerage poached three technology executives from the listings giant.

The two companies — at odds since Zillow filed two separate lawsuits in April — said Wednesday that they settled those cases, which were filed in federal and Washington state court. “The two companies have agreed to resolve their differences,” a Compass spokesperson said, “and look forward to working together to help the entire real estate ecosystem.”

The news of the settlement came within an hour of Compass being hit with a searing lawsuit from Realogy — the parent company of the Corcoran Group, Coldwell Banker and others — accusing it of predatory recruiting and poaching, as well as price fixing and collusion. In a statement, Compass, which is valued at $4.4 billion, accused Realogy of turning to the courts to try to stifle competition.

In the Zillow cases, Compass was accused of hiring three technology executives from Zillow for its West Coast campus in violation of their non-competes. The listing giant also said Compass sought access to proprietary information that would accelerate its ability to build out a technology platform. On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Zillow said the settlement agreement with Compass allows both firms to operate “in a fair, competitive environment.”

Compass launched the Seattle tech campus in December, with the goal of building an “end-to-end” platform for real estate.

At the time, the company said it planned to hire around 100 engineers. It also hired former Microsoft and Amazon executive Joseph Sirosh as chief technology officer. But last month, three of Compass’ top executives in marketing and product resigned or were forced out of their roles, including Eytan Seidman, head of product; Khurrum Malik, chief marketing officer; and Max Henderson, vice president of product. In March, Compass’ general counsel, David Carp, and chief people officer, Madan Nagaldinne, left the firm. At the time, Carp was said to have continued working on a part-time basis.