September 2014 | By Stacey Moncrieff
The global media and information services company that owns such venerated titles as The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s announced Monday its intent to purchase Move Inc., operator of realtor.com®.
The company is News Corp, a top-in-class media and publishing business with 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. With Monday’s announcement, News Corp made clear its intent to plant a major stake in the U.S. online real estate space. And the company is putting its considerable weight behind the REALTOR® brand.
“This partnership will help shape the future of real estate,” said National Association of REALTORS® President Steve Brown. “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.”
In 2013, News Corporation separated into two distinct, publicly traded companies—News Corp and 21st Century Fox. Rupert Murdoch is executive chairman of News Corp, a multinational news and information company headquartered in New York. The company reported more than $8.5 billion in revenue in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014.
“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 U.S.,” said Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corp. “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.” (See the presentation News Corp shared in an investor call this morning.)
Move, Inc. draws nearly 35 million visitors each month to its network of real estate sites for consumers and real estate professionals. The company’s flagship site is realtor.com®.
“We provide people with the information, tools and professional expertise they need to make the best and most informed real estate decisions, and we work to uphold the indispensable role of the professional in the real estate experience,” said Steve Berkowitz, chief executive officer of Move. “News Corp shares our vision, which is one of the many reasons this combination is such good news for our customers, consumers and the industry as a whole.”
The realtor.com® domain is owned by the National Association of REALTORS®, and the site is operated by Move through an agreement between the REALTORS® Information Network, a NAR subsidiary, and RealSelect, a Move subsidiary. NAR leadership and the RIN board, meeting over the weekend, voted to approve the acquisition, which is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. News Corp and Move are both traded on the NASDAQ. On Monday, September 29, Move’s stock closed at $15.29 and News Corp closed at $16.80.
NAR has posted an FAQ at realtor.org and will continue to communicate with its members as information becomes available. But one thing is certain, according to NAR CEO Dale Stinton. This change in ownership will only strengthen realtor.com®’s core mission: to serve consumers with the best, most accurate real estate data while keeping REALTORS® central to the real estate transaction.
“Throughout the 20th century, NAR worked to ensure that REALTORS® were indispensable to consumers and the real estate transaction,” Stinton said. “This partnership is yet another 21st century example of this effort. NAR will continue to seek opportunities such as this for REALTORS® to flourish in today’s marketplace by remaining first and foremost in the consumer’s mind.”
Reprinted from REALTOR® Magazine Online, September 2014, with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright September 2014. All rights reserved.