The realtor.com brand is set to be bought by media giant News Corp, which aims to ‘turbo-charge’ traffic and transform the US real estate online sector
Media giant News Corp has announced its intention to buy Move Inc., operator of the realtor.com brand in the United States in a US$950m deal.
The global media and information services company that is headed by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has announced its intent to purchase Move Inc., operator of realtor.com.
News Corp has experience in real estate through its newspapers and its majority ownership of the REA Group Ltd, the leading Australian residential property website, which also has a presence in Europe and Asia. News Corp has a 61% stake in REA Group Limited, which operates the property website realestate.com.au.
News Corp says it wants to own a major stake of the US online real estate sector and it aims to ‘turbo-charge’ user numbers.
Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corp, says. “We intend to use our media platforms and compelling content to turbo-charge traffic growth and create the most successful real estate website in the US. We are building on our existing real estate expertise and expect to leverage the potential of Move and its valuable connections with Realtors and consumers around the country.”
National Association of Realtors President Steve Brown, says, “This partnership will help shape the future of real estate. News Corp’s ability to reach and engage consumers, combined with realtor.com’s quality content and the real insights Realtors provide will transform the current landscape.”
Move says it is well positioned to capitalize on the fast-growing US online real estate sector and the world’s largest residential real estate market. More than five million homes in the United States are bought and sold each year, representing more than US$1trillion in annual transaction volume. Agents and brokers are expected to spend approximately US$14billion in 2014 marketing homes (up from approximately US$11billion in 2012).
Under the acquisition agreement, which has been unanimously approved by the board of directors of Move, News Corp will acquire all the outstanding shares of Move for US$21 per share, or approximately US$950million (net of Move’s existing cash balance), via an all-cash tender offer. This represents a premium of 37% over Move’s closing stock price on September 29, 2014.
REA’s share will be acquired for approximately US$200million. News Corp intends to commence a tender offer for all of the shares of common stock of Move within 10 business days, followed by a merger to acquire any untendered shares.
“This acquisition will accelerate News Corp’s digital and global expansion and contribute to the transformation of our company, making online real estate a powerful pillar of our portfolio,” says Mr Thomson.
News Corp’s famous media brands include the Times, the Sun, The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal and publisher HarperCollins.
By Adrian Bishop, Editor, OPP Connect