Activist Investor Starboard Value May Push Newscorp to Sell REA Group and Realtor.com

October 17, 2023
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The U.S. hedge fund Starboard Value may be about to push Newscorp to sell off its two prized real estate portal assets, REA Group in Australia and Realtor.com in the United States.

According to a report by Reuters which quoted anonymous sources, the activist investor recently bought shares in the Murdoch-controlled media company.

Starboard has a history of pushing for changes at the companies it invests in and was one of the loudest voices behind eBay's sale of its classifieds division to Adevinta in 2020.

Newscorp's market cap currently stands at around $12.5 billion with Starboard said to value the company's portfolio at closer to $20 billion. A Wall Street Journal article said that the hedge fund values Newscorp's crown jewel, the Australian portal company REA Group, at $8 billion alone.

The other Newscorp real estate asset under scrutiny is Move, Inc. the parent company of Realtor.com. In January the portal was almost sold off to CoStar for a reported $3 billion. Since then CoStar has invested heavily in organically building up its own real estate portal asset, Homes.com and recently claimed that it has taken the number two spot from Realtor.com.

Starboard is not the only Newscorp investor that would like to see a change. Reuters reports that Irenic Capital Management last year pushed News Corp to spin off its real estate assets and Dow Jones, the publisher of the Wall Street Journal. Any spin-off or outright sale would almost certainly need approval from the Murdoch family who own 39% of Newscorp's voting shares.

October 17, 2023
Since March 2020 Edmund's job has been to read about, write about, collect data on, analyse and generally know about real estate marketplaces and the companies that run them. Before that he worked at the aggregator Mitula Group (which became Lifull Connect) for five years.

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