Rupert Murdoch’s bid to sell online real estate business Move Inc. may hit a potential roadblock with a powerful industry group.
(Bloomberg) — Rupert Murdoch’s bid to sell online real estate business Move Inc. may hit a potential roadblock with a powerful industry group.
Murdoch’s News Corp. is in discussions to sell the business, which includes Realtor.com and other real estate-related websites, to CoStar Group Inc. for $3 billion, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.
But any deal would require negotiations with the National Association of Realtors, according to people familiar with the talks who asked not to be named because the matter is private. Move’s Realtor.com operates under an agreement and trademark license with the group.
The Realtors’ group, which bills itself as America’s largest trade association, is using the potential transaction to demand terms that would make an acquisition unappealing to CoStar or other potential buyers, one of the people said.
Representatives for News Corp. and NAR declined to comment. CoStar didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
The push to sell the real estate business comes after Murdoch abandoned a bid to recombine News Corp and Fox Corp., two media giants that he runs. News Corp. acquired Move in 2014 for $950 million. REA Group Ltd., an online real estate business based in Australia that News Corp. also controls, owns 20% of Move.
Murdoch’s proposal to combine the two firms spurred pushback from some stakeholders. Investor Irenic Capital Management called on the company to spin off its real estate businesses.
CoStar, whose real estate data empire spans commercial property listings, apartment rentals and beyond, has taken steps to compete in an online residential real estate industry dominated by Zillow Group Inc. Acquiring Move would accelerate that effort.
(Adds investor comments in seventh paragraph. A previous version corrected the name of a company in the second paragraph to add an “s”.)
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