The commercial real estate giant CoStar is engaged in talks to buy U.S. number two portal Realtor.com's parent company Move Inc from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
Confirmation of the discussions came this morning via a press release from Australian portal operator REA Group which controls a 20% stake in Move:
"REA Group confirms that discussions have been taking place with CoStar Group concerning a potential sale of Move, Inc., operator of Realtor.com, in which REA Group holds a 20% equity stake. The potential transaction is incomplete. There is no guarantee that these discussions will result in the parties entering into any transaction."
REA Group's missive comes after yesterday's revelation Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan decided not to merge Fox Corporation and News Corp. REA Group felt compelled to address, and ultimately confirm, rumours that the merger of the two media behemoths was because of ongoing talks about News Corp's real estate interests.
In 2014 News Corp paid around $1 billion to acquire Move Inc with 80% of the company to be held directly and 20% to be held by REA Group which itself counts News Corp as a majority shareholder.
There has been speculation around a potential CoStar deal for Realtor.com for some time, notably by respected U.S. industry leader Brad Inman who in 2021 wrote a column on the subject.
For CoStar, a deal to acquire Realtor.com would represent a shortcut towards its ambition of taking Zillow's crown as residential marketplace leader and would triple its current addressable market, which is currently mainly in commercial and rentals.