News Corp Agrees to Acquire Opcity

Market-leading tech platform will enhance realtor.com®and lead generation offerings to benefit real estate professionals and consumers

 

In a significant move, News Corp announced that it had acquired Austin, TX based OpCity.  OpCity operates one of the largest lead curation/management systems in the residential real estate industry and has built a client list of dozens if not hundreds of brokerage firm clients since their founding.  One presumes that this acquisition is related to Realtor.com’s efforts to continue to improve the quality and breadth of its lead generation efforts with its brokerage and agent clientele.

OpCity operates one of the largest lead curation/management systems in the residential real estate industry and has built a client list of dozens if not hundreds of brokerage firm clients since their founding.  One presumes that this acquisition is related to Realtor.com’s efforts to continue to improve the quality and breadth of its lead generation efforts with its brokerage and agent clientele.

One of Realtor.com’s (and other real estate portals) great challenges is the low response rate from agents to housing consumers when inquiries are made off of Realtor.com.  We referred to this challenge as “bridging the last mile”.  OpCity would appear to be an investment meant to improve the quality of the interaction with housing consumers who visit Realtor.com and at the same time, relieve agents of the need to have their own curation or follow up systems.  One also presumes that Realtor.com will find a way to monetize this service with their preferred agents and brokerage firms.
The reality is that all portals will have to find ways to move deeper into the brokerage arena and assume some of the roles that in the past have been the purvey of agents and brokerage firms – that is following up with housing consumers who have in some way asked for help from an agent. It is well known that so far, as online inquiries are concerned, the actual response rate leaves quite a bit to be desired.  We think the move by Realtor.com in this regard is a necessary one for them, and no real threat to agents or brokerage firms.

 

Read The Official Press Release Below

 

News Corp today announced that its subsidiary Move, Inc., operator of realtor.com®, has entered into an agreement to acquire Opcity, the market-leading real estate technology platform that matches qualified home buyers and sellers with real estate professionals in real time.

“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.”

The planned acquisition of Opcity, based in Austin, Texas, will broaden realtor.com®’s lead generation product portfolio, allowing real estate professionals to choose between traditional lead products that offer professionals the opportunity to work leads themselves or a concierge-based model that provides highly vetted, transaction-ready leads, which is the expertise Opcity brings to realtor.com®. The acquisition purchase price is $210 million, subject to adjustments.

Digital real estate services has become the fastest growing segment of News Corp, the most global digital property company. In the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018, Move, Inc.’s real estate revenues grew 20 percent, with total revenues up a healthy 15 percent for the year. Move, Inc. has nearly doubled its revenues since News Corp’s acquisition in 2014 to $452 million in fiscal 2018.

News Corp also owns 61.6 percent of REA Group Limited, the operator of the leading Australian residential property website, realestate.com.au. REA holds a 20 percent stake in Move, Inc.

“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, Chief Executive of News Corp. “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.”

“Consumers and agents use realtor.com® for one primary purpose – to buy or sell a home,” said Ryan O’Hara, CEO of Move, Inc. “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.”

Opcity leverages proprietary data sets, applied analytics and machine learning to more effectively capture online leads and instantly connect transaction-ready clients with the right agents. Utilizing a broker-centric model, Opcity has grown its U.S. client base to over 5,000 brokerages and more than 40,000 agents since 2015. Its customers include a number of franchised brands, such as Better Homes & Gardens, Keller Williams, ReMax, Century 21, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services and leading independent brokerage companies.

“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,” said Ben Rubenstein, CEO of Opcity. “Together, we’ll provide an enhanced consumer experience and more choices for brokers and their agents to grow their business.”

O’Hara added, “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. 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®.”

After closing, Rubenstein will remain CEO of Opcity, reporting to O’Hara.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval and approval by holders of the majority of Opcity shares.

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