News Corp CEO commits to growing Realtor.com
As the company doubles down on the real estate portal, CEO Robert Thomson said News Corp remains “open and opportunistic.”
- News Corp wasn’t looking to sell Realtor.com, but “we were courted and wooed with a significant sum.”
- “I like (CoStar CEO) Andy Florance very much, but I love Realtor,” said News Corp CEO Robert Thomson.
- Move, Inc. CEO David Doctorow said Realtor.com is “confident in the course that we have laid out in front of us.”
News Corp CEO Robert Thomson says he's made it a "personal priority" to grow Realtor.com, after navigating "flux in the real estate segment" — meaning a potential sale to CoStar.
But Thomson did not close the door on a future deal, confirming that several other parties have expressed "financial fascination" with Realtor.com.
"We remain open and opportunistic," he said. But "we have no intention of being the Miss Havisham of housing," referring to the spinster of Dickensian fame.
The real estate portal and its parent company, Move, Inc., were the stars of Thomson's speech at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom conference on March 7.
"To be clear, we had no intention of selling Realtor, but we were courted and wooed with a significant sum," Thomson said.
CoStar acknowledged in January that it had been in talks with News Corp, which purchased Move in 2014 for $1 billion. News Corp had been seeking to sell the company for a reported $3 billion.
"We have tremendous respect for Realtor.com," CoStar CEO Andy Florance said last month, after closing out the company's earnings call with the news that "CoStar Group is not acquiring Move."
Thomson, meanwhile, said "I like Andy Florance very much, but I love Realtor." Which comes with a promise of support: News Corp plans to use its U.S. media platforms, including the Wall Street Journal (wsj.com), to promote Realtor.com. "It shows how much we believe in the future of Realtor," Thomson said. The National Association of Realtors licenses its name and the Realtor.com URL to Move, Inc but "does not determine Move's product offerings, pricing or terms and conditions."
David Doctorow, CEO of Move, Inc., which operates Realtor.com, said the company's purpose and focus hasn't changed, even as reports of a change in ownership have swirled around it.
"Unlike our competitors who push their own products, our open marketplace empowers consumers and customers with confidence by allowing them to choose the products and partners that are best for their real estate journey and business," he said.
Now, with News Corp reinforcing its commitment to Realtor.com's success, Doctorow said: "We are confident in the course that we have laid out in front of us. As we move forward, we will remain laser focused on helping consumers feel confident by giving them personalized options and the power to choose them, and empowering the growth of customers by offering a choice of best-in-class solutions that meet their business needs."