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News Corp’s Move acquiring Texas real estate startup Opcity for $210 million

Company matches homebuyers and sellers with real estate agents

Move, which is owned by media giant News Corp and operates Realtor.com for the National Association of Realtors, is about to grow its real estate empire by acquiring a Texas-based real estate technology startup that claims its technology can match qualified homebuyers and sellers with real estate agents in real-time.

News Corp announced late Wednesday that Move is acquiring Opcity, which was founded in 2015, for $210 million.

Move claims that the acquisition will bolster Realtor.com’s lead generation capabilities, allowing real estate agents 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” that will be delivered using Opcity’s technology.

The acquisition solidifies a meteoric rise for Opcity, which initially launched in a few markets in 2016. Just over a year ago, the company raised $27 million in its Series A round of funding to “rapidly scale its workforce and establish an award-winning culture to expand its footprint to real estate brokers nationwide.”

That was May 2017. Now, the company is selling itself to Move for nearly eight times that amount.

The company now has a client base that includes more than 5,000 brokerages and more than 40,000 agents. Its customers include a number of franchised brands, such as Better Homes & Gardens, Keller Williams, ReMax, Century 21, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services and other independent brokerage companies.

Executives from both News Corp and Move touted Opcity’s technological expertise as a driving factor in the acquisition.

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

The real estate segment has been a fast-growing piece of News Corp’s business ever since it acquired Move in late 2014.

According to News Corp, in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2018, Move’s real estate revenues rose by 20%. The company said that Move has nearly doubled its revenues since being acquired by News Corp.

Robert Thomson, CEO of News Corp, said that the company has no plans to slow down the growth of its real estate segment.

“Through product innovation and powerful media platforms, News Corp is increasing its presence and capabilities in the burgeoning digital real estate services market,” Thomson said. “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.”

After the deal closes, Ben Rubenstein, CEO of Opcity, will continue in that role and will report directly to O’Hara.

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

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval and approval from Opcity’s majority shareholders.

“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,” O’Hara concluded. “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.”

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