Photo: Nick Ares/Flickr
News Corp., the media conglomerate that owns the Wall Street Journal and countless newspapers across the globe, isn’t happy to just dabble in publishing. The company, chaired by Rupert Murdoch, announced this morning that they plan to acquire Move, a US-based online real estate company, for approximately $950 million.
The all-cash tender offer will net News Corp. an 80 per cent stake in the company. REA Group Limited, which is 61.6 per cent owned by News Corp. and is the operator of the Australian residential property website, realestate.com.au, will hold the remaining 20 per cent stake. REA has a global presence with investments in online listings services operating in Italy, Luxembourg, China, Hong Kong and other parts of South East Asia.
Move owns ListHub, a digital platform that aggregates and syndicates MLS data to more than 130 online publishers, according to the news release. The Move network of websites is said to reach about 35 million people per month, who spend an average of 22 minutes each on its sites. Some of the top name sites that will now fall under the News Corp.’s mantle include property portals like moving.com, seniorhousing.net, and realtor.com, a major player in the online listings service world, as it’s the official website of National Association of Realtors.
The big sum paid for the online real estate firm should come as no surprise to market watchers. In July, Zillow announced it would be buying rival listing service Trulia for $3.5 billion. A heavy hitter among online real estate firms, Zillow will be News Corp.’s main American competitor.
In a statement, Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corp., explained the acquisition.
“In addition to boosting Move’s subscription, advertising and software services, this acquisition will give News Corp. a significant marketing platform for our media assets, which will benefit from the high-quality geographic data generated by real estate searches.”
This is the biggest buy since the company picked up Harlequin Enterprises, then owned by Canada’s Torstar Corporation, for $455 million just this past summer.
Other media companies that have expanded into the real estate business include Rogers Communications, the Canadian media company, that owns Zoocasa, an online listings service.
Here’s how Twitter is taking the news:
— Edmund Lee (@edmundlee) September 30, 2014
83yr old Australian man gets confused while shopping online for condos in Miami, accidentally buys Move Inc. http://t.co/r7J7guT7NG
— Spencer Rascough (@SmugSpencer) September 30, 2014
— Fred Katayama (@freddiethekat) September 30, 2014
Really disturbing to hear people’s homes being described as “content” in this News Corp release. http://t.co/8AGGKFDM5w
— Jason Inofuentes (@tnofuentes) September 30, 2014
Isn’t it hilarious that News Corp is a real name?
— Graham Linehan (@Glinner) September 30, 2014