CoStar Group is close to an agreement to acquire Move Inc., the parent of Realtor.com and several other CRE-related data platforms, from News Corp. in a $3B deal, Bloomberg reported.
In filing with the SEC this week, News Corp. confirmed that the negotiations are part of an ongoing effort “to assess opportunities that will maximize shareholder value.”
“Any potential transaction would support News Corp’s strategy to optimize the value of its Digital Real Estate Services segment, while strengthening Realtor.com’s competitive position in the market,” the company’s filing said.
In October, Rupert Murdoch asked the boards of News Corp. and Fox Corp.—the crown jewels of Murdoch’s media empire, which includes Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and the NY Post—to consider recombining.
According to reports, the media baron decided this week to abandon the proposal to recombine the two corporate entities. However, Murdoch’s proposal prompted a reassessment of News Corp’s online real estate businesses that appears to be coming to fruition in the talks with CoStar.
Even if CoStar reaches an agreement with News Corp. to acquire Move, such an acquisition by CoStar—a major provider of real estate marketplaces, information and analysis for commercial and residential property markets—could increase CoStar’s market share to the point that it draws scrutiny from federal regulators.
CoStar has attempted to buttress its residential sector business with several acquisitions since 2020. The company closed deals to acquire Homesnap and Home.com, but two other high-profile acquisition proposals fell apart due to concerns that the deals would trigger antitrust litigation.
CoStar’s attempt in 2020 to acquire RentPath—then the owner of Rent.com and ApartmentGuide.com—was quashed when the Federal Trade Commission authorized a legal action against the deal. RentPath eventually was acquired by Redfin for $608M.
In February 2021, CoreLogic rejected a $700M acquisition offer from CoStar. In an open letter to CoStar CEO Andy Florance, CoreLogic cited the potential for antitrust litigation as a reason for rejecting the offer. CoreLogic then was acquired by private equity firms Stone Point Capital and Insight Partners.
News Corp. acquired Move in 2014 for $950M. REA Group, an Australia-based online real estate business that News Corp. also controls, owns 20% of Move.