eBay Pushes Further into Online Classifieds with Latest Acquisition
By Ina Steiner
eBay will acquire Rent.com, a privately held online classifieds site in the apartment and rental housing industry. eBay's announcement late Thursday stated, "the acquisition will enable eBay to expand into a new segment of the online real estate market while allowing Rent.com to continue to scale its business with the resources and expertise of eBay."
Rent.com launched nationally in October 2001 and allows apartment owners and managers to list properties on the website free of charge and pay success fees only for leases produced through Rent.com. Rent.com gives $100 to renters who let owners know they found the property through the site. It also has a service to help people find roommates. Based in California, Rent.com said it is profitable and expects revenues in 2004 to total more than $40 million.
eBay has agreed to acquire all outstanding securities of Rent.com for total consideration of approximately $415 million plus acquisition costs, net of Rent.com's cash on hand. The acquisition amount will be paid with approximately $385 million in eBay common stock and $30 million in cash. eBay expects the acquisition to be slightly accretive to full-year 2005 pro forma diluted earnings per share, though dilutive to 2005 GAAP diluted earnings per share due to the amortization of acquired assets. More information relating to the impact of the acquisition on eBay's 2005 financial guidance will be provided upon the closing of the transaction.
The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approval and approval of Rent.com's stockholders, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2005.
eBay acquired a stake in Craigslist.org in August, the leading classifeds website in the Netherlands last month, and acquired Mobile.de, a car classifieds site in Germany, last Spring. Last month it introduced a "Want It Now" feature on its own site.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to email@example.com.
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