No borders for News Corp.

Global is local, and media giant could take all

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When Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. announced it was expanding its global portal presence by acquiring Move Inc. and its key real estate portal, realtor.com, the announcement lacked a summary of the potential consequences.

The recent acquisition has caused a lot of noise in the real estate industry. Most of it has involved how this acquisition will impact the other U.S. real estate portals from a competitive standpoint. However, I believe that the real impact is what this move means for the entire U.S. real estate industry: Global real estate has just come ashore.

Someone should wake up the folks sleeping over at the Federal Trade Commission. This is a global market, ladies and gentlemen, and this move was not about a domestic deal.

In fact, only a very small part of everything News Corp. does is about a domestic strategy. The people at News Corp. are not intimidated by domestically visioned U.S. companies. They realize that, as a country, we have evolved into the “United States of the World.” Only a very few people in the real estate business truly understand the ramifications of that evolution.

The fact is — and I have recently coined the phrase — global is local.

There is an international presence of U.S. homeowners who originated from countries around the world, but who are here in the U.S. now. That presence extends into every market in this country.

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And speaking of the definition of a global, vertically integrated media company, the next time you are in New York City, take a stroll by the News Corp. headquarters. I have been there. The entire experience is an awesome and real example of media power and dominance: News America Marketing, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post and Dow Jones, all in one building, all owned by one company.

News Corp. has quietly and intently become the Proctor & Gamble of news and real estate media brands today in this country and in at least two others — Australia and the United Kingdom. Its executives see the world as a network of leading companies in a global market.

So what’s next for this media giant in U.S. real estate?

Here’s my prediction: The global real estate portal roll-up of all time will be powered by News Corp., as evidenced by the ongoing creation of a network of real estate media companies. It was not in any way a surprise when News Corp. announced last week that it had invested in the Indian real estate website PropTiger.com. One day, when we look back at the acquisition of Move Inc., we will realize that this step was only a small piece of its plan for global dominance in the market.

What those of us in real estate will soon learn is that News Corp. doesn’t play as the No. 3-ranked player in any category, in any country on this planet … for long.

So if you think these deals are the end of the real estate networked portal play for News Corp. in the U.S., think again.

Could News Corp. acquire Zillow? Trulia? Both companies?

Don’t be surprised if it happens, because no move is too small for this company in the very precise game of “News Corp. takes all.” You say, “No way.” You say, “That would be impossible.” Really?

So what’s your bet? Mine: Global takes all.

And now it gets interesting. Really interesting.

Kenneth Jenny is an expert in the residential real estate brokerage industry and real estate marketing.