News Corp. has ended discussions with CoStar Group, the parent company of rental listing site Apartments.com, for the sale of its real-estate listing business Move Inc., the companies said on Tuesday.
A potential sale of Move Inc., which runs the listing site Realtor.com, began in earnest after Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch abandoned plans to merge Fox Corp. and Wall StreetJournal owner of News Corp. in late January. That same month, News Corp. said it was exploring the sale of Move Inc. to CoStar for a deal reportedly valued at $3 billion. Had the deal gone through, the acquisition would have put CoStar in more direct competition with other real-estate listing businesses like Zillow and Redfin.
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In a statement shared on Tuesday, News Corp. said that while the CoStar deal was off the table, the company would “continue to actively assess opportunities” for its digital real estate business as part of a greater effort to maximize shareholder value. The company, which also runs the New York Post and Dow Jones, most recently said it would lay off about 5 percent of the company’s workforce, amounting to about 1,250 positions. The job cuts would result in about $30 million in cost savings, News Corp. said.
“We are absolutely focused on reducing costs across our businesses and making price adjustments where prudent,” News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson said during a Feb. 9 earnings calls, pointing to a difficult economic environment for the company.
News Corp. acquired an 80% stake in Move Inc. in 2014 for $950 million. The remaining 20 percent went to the Australia-based REA Group Ltd., of which News Corp. has a roughly 62 percent stake in. A sale of News Corp.’s digital real estate business would notably provide a sizable influx of cash for the company as it reduces costs across its operations.
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