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CoStar In Talks To Pay $3B For Murdoch’s Online Real Estate Business – Bisnow

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Bisnow/Jon Banister

CoStar Group is reportedly in talks for a potential $3B transaction with Rupert Murdoch‘s News Corp. in CoStar’s latest attempt to expand its residential platform through acquisitions.  

The two firms are discussing a deal for Move Inc., the online real estate business that owns several domains, including Realtor.comBloomberg reported Tuesday.

News Corp. confirmed negotiations in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, adding “there can be no assurance any transaction will result from these discussions.”

“News Corp actively assesses opportunities to maximize shareholder value, and discussions with CoStar Group are part of that ongoing effort,” the statement says. “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.”

CoStar didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The news comes as Murdoch has explored a restructuring of media conglomerates News Corp. and Fox Corp., and as CoStar has searched for a major deal to grow its residential business.

CoStar has missed out on two potential acquisitions over the past two years, in part due to federal scrutiny of its market share. In February 2021, CoreLogic rejected an acquisition offer with a $700M premium from CoStar to instead sell to private equity firms Stone Point Capital and Insight Partners

CoreLogic cited CoStar’s stock volatility and the potential for antitrust litigation in an open letter addressed to CoStar CEO Andy Florance in March 2021, saying it would expose “CoreLogic shareholders to unnecessary delay and risk.” 

That came after the Federal Trade Commission authorized a lawsuit against CoStar in 2020 over its proposed acquisition of real estate data firm RentPath. The firm, which owns Rent.com and ApartmentGuide.com, was later acquired by Redfin for $608M.

Last year, CoStar faced some skepticism from analysts about its pivot to the residential business. CoStar has acquired Homesnap and Homes.com over the past two years, but analysts questioned the wisdom of investing hundreds of millions in the platform, as Florance has committed to doing.

Florance suggested in a third-quarter earnings call on Oct. 25 that the cooling residential market may be a tailwind for CoStar’s residential business, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha.

CoStar’s stock was trading more than 2% lower than the previous day at market open on Wednesday, falling below $77 per share. News Corp.’s stock price was up 7.5% after the first hour of trading Wednesday. 

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