News Corp announced today that they will be purchasing real estate listings company Move, Inc. in an all-cash deal valued at around $950 million. News Corp is the product of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and currently operates news productions such as the Wall Street Journal and Marketwatch. This transaction comes just months after Zillow announced it would be purchasing Trulia for $3.5 billion in July. These two major deals show that the value of real estate listings services is higher than ever, as consumers continue to depend on these sites when buying or selling their home.
What does this strategic move mean for REALTORS®? It could show that News Corp is attempting to build up realtor.com® to be more competitive with Zillow. Consumers have long shown preference for both Zillow and Trulia when searching for homes, and realtor.com® has consistently lagged behind in traffic. Currently, Zillow receives twice the unique monthly visitors that realtor.com® sees. This shift in ownership could finally give Move’s sites what they need to catch up to their competition. Robert Thomson, the Chief Executive of News Corp, was adamant about their desire to make realtor.com® the most successful real estate site in the country, stating they would use their current media platforms and “compelling content to turbo-charge traffic growth.”
While the press releases from both Move and News Corp addressed their continued dedication to making realtor.com® a success, the future of Move’s other services such as Top Producer and FiveStreet aren’t mentioned. Though realtor.com® has by far been the largest revenue driver for Move, these CRM systems diversified their company. Will News Corp drive capital and improve these ventures as well? Only time will tell.
The deal is estimated to be finalized before the end of the year, and only then will we know the specifics of News Corp’s plan for all of Move’s resources. The substantial purchase price shows that News Corp truly believes they can build up the value of realtor.com® to challenge Zillow and drive more traffic. It also shows that News Corp, a major international corporation, believes that the American real estate industry is a good investment. They purchased Move because they believe they will make a profit in this market, and making a profit depends on REALTORS® selling homes and purchasing advertisements. They’re betting on the real estate industry growing, and that’s always good news.