Speculation surrounding News Ltd’s mooted 100% acquisition of REA Group

Speculation persists that News Limited could look to mop up minority shareholders and acquire a 100% holding of the online real estate listing business REA Group, publisher of realestate.com.au.

News Limited has a 61.6% holding in REA Group and would have to pay between $910 million and $990 million to acquire the remaining 38.4% of the company.

Asked by the Australian Financial Review if News Limited was likely to acquire 100% of REA Group, Greg Ellis was reported today as saying: “You’d have to ask News about that.”

Minority shareholders of REA Group include fund manager Hyperion Asset Management, which upped its stake in REA Group from 9% to 10% in May.

In July News Limited and the REA Group announced a marketing alliance that sees the realestate.com.au brand integrated into the mastheads and property sections of News Limited metropolitan, community and regional newspapers.

Last week REA Group posted a 29% rise in net profit to $87 million for the 2012 financial year ahead of analysts’ expectations, but real estate agent numbers fell by 5%.

In April, Hamish McLennan, executive vice president at News Corporation, was appointed chairman of the REA Group.

In January, Sam White, deputy chairman of the Ray White group, quit the board of the REA Group.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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