Reports Say CoStar Is in Talks to Buy Parent Move from Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. (NWSA.O) is in talks to sell its 80% stake in Move Inc., the parent company of real estate listing site, to CoStar Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSGP) for at least $2.4 billion, Reuters and The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The Washington, D.C.-based CoStar Group, which monetizes commercial real estate with listings and other data analytics and marketing services, expressed its interest in Move to News Corp., the Times reported, adding that Move is valued at more than $3 billion. Murdoch put on pause plans to merge News Corp and Fox after “talks with CoStar got serious,” it added.

Insider said Irenic Capital had valued News Corp’s 80% stake in Move at $1.4 billion in an investor deck.  In 2014, News Corp. paid nearly $1 billion to acquire the stake in Move. The rest of Move is owned by REA, a digital real estate subsidiary controlled by News Corp.

A deal for Move, if finalized, would position CoStar as a residential real estate giant, adding to its heft in commercial real estate. Since 2014, CEO Andy Florance has made known his ambition by pointing to the size of the two markets — $16 trillion for commercial real estate, compared with $27 trillion for residential.

Florance has since then put together a string of acquisitions worth over $2 billion — in 2014, ForRent in 2017 and HomeSnap in 2020. The acquisition of Move, if successful, could also sustain CoStar’s growth momentum that saw its valuation double to $32 billion since 2018.

Move reportedly had revenues of $700 million in fiscal year 2022, up from $227 million in 2013 when News Corp. bought it.