Not quite a deal a minute, but News is shelling out again

Apr 06, 2021 at 01:46 am by Staff

Listings business REA Group - 61 per cent owned by News Corp - is bidding for Mortgage Choice, the third major deal for the publishing giant in a week.

The $1.95 a share offer - a premium of 66 per cent - values Mortgage Choice at $244 million and is supported by its directors.

The deal would make REA Australia's fourth biggest mortgage broker after CBA's Aussie Home Loans, which announced in November it would merge with digital broker Lendi. REA already owns a smaller broking business called Smartline, while CBA is a significant shareholder in Mortgage Choice.

REA chief executive Owen Wilson sees the opportunity to accelerate its push into financial services, a market in which it has a share of only 6.3 per cent, and where the massive audience reach of its majority owner could serve it well. Mortgage Choice claims on its website to settle a loan "every 15 minutes".

Quoted in Nine's Sydney Morning Herald, Wilson said financing was "the very next decision" for people who are looking at property. "So there's a huge opportunity to grow this business," he told the paper.

REA also has hopes of offering insurance in the future.

At the end of last month, News Corp announced the purchases of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's 'books and media' segment, and financial daily Investor's Business Daily. The HMH unit will be operated by subsidiary HarperCollins Publishers, while O'Neil Capital Management's Investor's Business Daily will be operated by Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones, another subsidiary.

Sections: Digital business


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