News makes $950m move for US listings site

News makes $950m move for US listings site

News Corp has agreed to purchase US online real estate listings business Move for US$950 million, in the largest deal by Rupert Murdoch’s publishing division since its split with 21st Century Fox in June last year.

The publisher will take an 80 per cent stake, while REA Group, which is 61.6 per cent owned by News and operates Australian property website, will take 20 per cent.

News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson said that the deal with accelerate the company’s digital and global expansion, and will help build online real estate as a significant part of the group’s portfolio.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

The acquisition follows the purchase by News Corp of Canadian book publisher Harlequin Enterprises for C$455 million in May this year, and of social media news agency Storyful, which it bought for US$25 million in January. The series of deals show News Corp is diversifying its assets beyond its core newspaper products, which Mr Thomson said would help its overall business.

“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,” said Mr Thomson.

“We certainly expect this deal to amount to far more than the sum of the parts.”

REA Group chief executive Tracey Fellows said that the acquisition presented an opportunity for the REA invest in the “leading player in the largest real estate market in the world”.

“We see strong growth potential for Move, given the size of the US market, the significant proportion of real estate advertising yet to move online, and recent industry consolidation,” she said.

“We believe that our digital real estate know-how, combined with News Corp’s content, distribution and marketing strengths, will be a winning combination for Move and for our shareholders.”

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