CoStar's Bid to Buy Realtor.com Crumbles
Rupert Murdoch's aspirations to strike a deal have been foiled, as News Corp's efforts to sell one of its high-value real estate assets have fallen apart.
Good morning. CoStar's bid to buy Realtor.com from News Corp ends with no deal. More corporate tax breaks and incentives were handed out by Southern and ‘Mountain’ states in 2022 than ever. Meanwhile, recent population shifts to the South and inland West are attributed to lower taxes, pandemic policies, weather, and crime.
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📖 Read about Houston’s 2018 program to build 1,100 affordable homes by 2023, and find out why only 136 homes were built before the city slashed its funding in half.
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DEAL OR NO DEAL
CoStar's Bid to Buy Realtor.com from News Corp for ~$3B Has Fallen Apart
Once again, Rupert Murdoch's aspirations to strike a deal have been foiled, as News Corp's efforts to sell one of its high-value real estate assets have fallen apart. Discussions of the deal surfaced only a few months after the abandonment of the proposed merger between Fox Corporation and News Corporation's primary media businesses.
Deal goes cold: News Corp announced on Tuesday that it had ended talks with CoStar Group to sell Move Inc., the owner of widely used listing platforms Realtor.com and Apartments.com. The deal, valued at approximately $3B, has fallen through and is no longer being pursued by either company.
The backstory: Amid investor opposition, News Corp's plans to reunite with Fox Corp. failed, prompting the company to explore other strategic options. One such option was the potential sale of its digital real-estate assets, including its nearly two-thirds stake in Australian digital real-estate firm REA Group Ltd. During this period, the idea of selling Move Inc. to CoStar Group was proposed.
➥ THE TAKEAWAY
The failed deal between News Corp and CoStar has different implications for each company. News Corp's failure to finalize the deal is another setback for Rupert Murdoch's deal-making goals and a missed opportunity for a cash influx as advertisers cut down on spending due to higher interest rates. In contrast, CoStar won't be competing head-to-head against Zillow Group Inc (Z) in the online marketplace for home buying and selling.
Push for Chip and Electric-Vehicle Factories Drives Surge in Corporate Tax Breaks
Amidst the pandemic, US states have been utilizing stimulus money to offer corporate tax breaks, aiming to lure chip and EV factories. As a matter of fact, 2022 witnessed a higher number of tax breaks, cash grants, and incentives than ever before.
Unheard of, unprecedented: Georgia, Michigan, and West Virginia gave out $1B+ subsidies eight times last year, compared to just one time from 2018 to 2021. According to Gregg Wassmansdorf, SMD of global strategy and consulting at Newmark, “The number of extremely large projects out there has never been bigger.”
Bigger, better, bolder: When Ohio entered a bidding war for Intel’s latest chip factory, they changed state law to offer up to 30 years of payroll tax credits and pitched $2.1B in grants and credits to win the project. Meanwhile, New York committed $5.5B to Micron’s newest factory near Syracuse. “States have been willing to cough up a lot more money,” said an SVP of economic development at Tulsa Regional Chamber.
➥ THE TAKEAWAY
A global pattern emerges: Manufacturers, tired of shipping snarls and global tensions, are looking to move their factories stateside. EV, battery, chip, and solar panel makers are scrambling to secure the best sites while they still can. And after Wisconsin’s 2017 Foxconn Tech Group fiasco, US states are also wising up, waiting to see ‘the goods’ (e.g., new jobs and local development) before handing out subsidies.
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What Do US Growth Zones Have in Common? They Build Housing
With pandemic policies in the rearview mirror, it seems odd that so many people are still leaving old gateway metros on both coasts for Southern and ‘Moutain’ states. Well, there’s a very simple explanation for why.
If you build it… Better weather, lower taxes, and more affordable living (including lower home prices) helped drive the Great Migration of 2020 and 2021. But what’s keeping it going at this point may simply be all the new housing these states have built for new residents to move into. And they couldn’t have done that without a lot of available land.
Building by the numbers: According to the US Census Bureau, in April 2020, the ‘Mountain’ division of the US—which includes the South and inland West, was home to 45.6% of the nation’s 331.4M residents. It was 46.3% a year later. Not a huge difference, until you look at new constructions. From 2020–2022, the Mountain division accounted for 65.8% of new housing construction nationwide.
➥ THE TAKEAWAY
Race to the finish: The Houston-Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX metro area saw the most single-family constructions over the 2-year period, followed closely by Dallas-Fort Worth. NYC-Newark-Jersey City led the nation in multifamily constructions with twice as many authorizations as runner-up DFW. Meanwhile, Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX is building single-family and multifamily faster than anywhere else, while Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT is building the slowest.
📰 Editors' Picks
Battered, broken keys: The Florida Keys—long-time island getaway of the ultra-rich—is feeling the effects of climate change faster than the mainland.
Tale of two types: In Q4, single-family homes for sale nationwide totalled 132,000 starts, down 34% YoY. But built-for-rent starts were up 15% over the same period.
Lease postmortem: Back in 2017, Dropbox (DBX) signed a record lease for its San Fran HQ. But in Q4, it recorded a $162.5M real estate impairment.
Staring contest: Multifamily buyers and sellers are waiting to see who blinks first as deals continue to decline due to high prices and terrible rates.
Not my circus: China’s state-owned firms are saying “No thank you” to the Chinese government’s request to help bail out distressed Chinese property developers.
More popular than ever: While traditional deals are circling the drain, sale-leasebacks were hotter than ever last year, recording 660 closed deals valued at $23.9B.
How the mighty have fallen: A $279M Blackstone (BX) loan backing 11 Manhattan properties was sent to the special servicer.
Say what? Massachusetts invented a new zoning concept last year called the ‘minimum multi-family unit capacity,’ and it's got tongues wagging in town halls across the state.
📰 Deals & Dealmakers
Too good to be true: The proposed Fibonnaci Square deal between Zara’s owner and Meta (META) to buy their Dublin HQ has fallen apart due to the plunging office market.
Was it due already? Simon Property Group seeks an extension of their $295M loan backed by The Shops at Mission Viejo, which has already gone to special servicing.
Interesting idea: PREIT has its sights set on building 7,000 apartments on its mall properties as it looks to ‘rebuild value.’
Welcome to Kenilworth: Onyx Equities and Machine Investment Group bought Merck’s former 108-acre, 2 MSF NJ campus in one of the largest life sciences deals in state history.
Can I do it if I ask nicely? Uline Inc. wants to expand its Kenosha, WI campus by 1.4 MSF, but needs permission from local authorities, first.
Retaking the colonies: British Petroleum (BP) is set to acquire TravelCenters of America for $1.3B, adding 280 US gas stations and convenience stores to its holdings.
Hitting it out of the ballpark: Orioles owner Peter Angelos sold a Baltimore County shopping center for $15.1M.
The smell of industry in Miami: Terreno Realty Corp. plans to build a $173.6M, 2.2 MSF campus at Countyline Corporate Park in Hialeah, FL.
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