Last week News Corp (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA) announced that its subsidiary Move, Inc. will acquire real estate technology platform Opcity for $210 million. Move, Inc. operates Realtor.com, and this acquisition will broaden that site’s lead generation product portfolio. According to a news release, real estate professionals can choose between using traditional sales leads and those generated by Opcity, which provides “highly vetted, transaction-ready leads.”
Opcity is a referral generation tool for real estate brokers. The site promises there are no upfront fees, for qualifying leads for real estate professionals before passing them onto agents. When a viable lead is identified, Opcity matches the leads with real estate agents using its unique agent-matching technology and sends mobile alerts out to those agents. The first agent to respond gets an introduction to the prospect in real time. High performing agents get access to a higher volume and quality of referrals.
There is no cost to sign up for the service, but agents do pay a fee upon the close of a deal. Opcity says its platform delivers a close rate of three to five times the industry average. The company’s U.S. client base includes 5,000+ brokerages and more than 40,000 agents since 2015. Their clients include Better Homes & Gardens, Keller Williams, ReMax, Century 21 and Berkshire Hathaway Home Services.
“Save valuable time: No more chasing after cold prospects. We do the heavy lifting to connect your agents to live referrals, not unfiltered inquiries. Time is money: speak only to ready clients,” says the Opcity website.
Of News Corp’s portfolio of assets, digital real estate services are the fastest growing segment. As of the end of its last fiscal year, June 30, 2018, Move, Inc.’s real estate revenue grew 20 percent with total revenue up 15 percent for the year. Since News Corp acquired the company in 2014, Move, Inc., has doubled its revenue to $452 million in fiscal year 2018.
“Through product innovation and powerful media platforms, News Corp is increasing its presence and capabilities in the burgeoning digital real estate services market,” said Robert Thomson, CEO of News Corp, in a news release. “We are absolutely focused on providing high quality services to real estate professionals and to consumers seeking to make an investment that is profoundly important to every family.”
Ryan O’Hara, CEO of Move, Inc., also commented on the acquisition.
“Consumers and agents use realtor.com® for one primary purpose – to buy or sell a home. This acquisition will help us bring buyers, sellers and agents together with as much simplicity, efficiency and choice as possible. The addition of Opcity to our portfolio will align with our strategy to enhance the experience of consumers, while providing our industry partners with more opportunities to connect with clients and grow their businesses,” said O’Hara in the announcement.
“Both response time and matching a consumer with the right agent results in a great consumer experience and ultimately increases the likelihood of a closed transaction. By pairing personalized outreach with cutting-edge technology, Opcity has built a best-in-class platform that delivers close rates three to five times the industry average,” added O’Hara. “That’s why Opcity has been so widely embraced by real estate agents and brokers and that is why it’s a perfect fit for what we believe is the best digital real estate platform in America, Realtor.com.”
Ben Rubenstein, CEO of Opcity said, “This is a natural fit. Both Realtor.com and Opcity share a common purpose of simplifying a consumer’s home buying journey, while helping real estate professionals connect and close more transactions. Together, we’ll provide an enhanced consumer experience and more choices for brokers and their agents to grow their business.”
Following the sale, Rubenstein, who will remain CEO of Opcity, will report to O’Hara. News Corp did not offer an anticipated closing date for the acquisition.
Media tycoon and News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch may not be well liked, but he is constantly wheeling and dealing. This acquisition is the latest American company to be purchased by News Corp who also owns companies in the U.K. and Australia. News Corp brands include Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Market Watch, the New York Post, Harper Collins Publishers, Storyful, The Sun, Unruly, Realtor.com and Move. This deal will grow the company’s sizable portfolio and expand its opportunities to grow its real estate transaction revenue base.