Editor’s Note: Following the big news Tuesday that massive media empire News Corp acquired Move, Inc., RISMedia spoke with Steve Berkowitz, Move CEO, and Bob Goldberg, president and CEO of the Real Estate Information Network (RIN) and NAR senior vice president, Sales & Marketing, and Business Development for more details on what the deal means for real estate professionals and real estate consumers.
How long has this acquisition been in the works and when will it close?
Steve Berkowitz: It’s been in discussion for some time; we will be able to talk about that more in 10 days. We believe it will close quickly in Q4.
Bob Goldberg: This has been in discussion for quite a while. Interestingly, this conversation preceded the [Zillow/Trulia] merger. The deal is expected to close by the end of this year.
SB: First off, it helps Move and realtor.com® because it’s a combined focus on opportunity. We are taking the assets that Move has – the content, audience size and relationships – and combining them with News Corp’s audience from the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and MarketWatch. We expect this to result in a significant increase in benefits to these transaction-ready audiences because we are offering them more excellent content together.
In this case, one and one is five. There’s a real brand battle out there and we have a great message. Our marketing is doing very well and combining that with News Corp’s offers a massive market opportunity.
This was not a two-party negotiation. This was a three-party negotiation and we have a lot of alignment in all of our roles. There’s a real commitment between NAR, realtor.com® and News Corp to enhance our roles and create an amazing consumer experience. The idea is that we are part of a media company, not a transaction company. We’re very focused on the idea of leveraging these relationships.
BG: News Corp, through all its print and online platforms, has such a vast number of other media plays in terms of consumer eyeballs. Their goal is to use that opportunity to expand the realtor.com® brand, along with the exposure of REALTORS® and brokers, to benefit consumers. With this acquisition, we are playing off a powerhouse that has already been built. We don’t have the disadvantage of having to figure out how to maximize the efficiency of existing traffic to one or more sites like our competition. We can leverage off all the things News Corp already has in place and the millions of consumers that already visit its brands.
How does this now position realtor.com® in relation to the Zillow/Trulia merger?
BG: The big difference that we see with this deal as opposed to others in the industry, is that the other moves are more of an additive type of deal—a combination of portals—whereas this deal brings the strength of News Corp to Move and to the realtor.com® brand to create a multiplier effect.
SB: Our focus has always been on building realtor.com®, and we saw this as an opportunity for us. It’s game on now. When you look at the set of resources that we now have, you can see how they complement each other and broaden our reach to create a multiplier effect. Whereas, we see the [Zillow/Trulia] merger as a clashing of cultures. They were very strong competitors, always fighting each other and now loving each other. We see their deal focused on cost cutting and eliminating duplication, whereas ours increases audience and customer opportunities.
Will this result in any changes in how NAR and Move operate together?
BG: We have an operating agreement and partnership with Move to operate realtor.com®. Now that we’re adding News Corp to the table, we will look to see how we maximize the benefit to REALTORS® and maximize the benefit to consumers to grow the digital real estate play worldwide.
SB: Move and the NAR have become significantly closer over the past two years and have been marketing and branding together. With this [acquisition], we only see our relationship getting stronger. News Corp has made nearly a billion-dollar commitment to the brand, which shows our strategies and future thinking are aligned. It’s a very positive sign for the relationship.
Considering News Corp’s huge media reach, what resources will this now bring to realtor.com®?
SB: Move will have a broadened reach through News Corp’s robust media platform, which has about 500 million monthly page views. I see us focusing on opportunities for growth, as well as building even better products and moving faster. We can now accelerate our enhancements to the consumer experience and focus on delivering increasing value to agents and brokers. If I were to be asked, ‘what two companies would you put together?’ I would say this is the best kind of acquisition because it’s not based on cutting millions in costs or exposing your audience to the same thing. It’s about delivering better value to our customer.