eBay to buy Rent.com for $415 million

The acquisition of the apartment rental service is eBay's latest move in its expansion beyond Internet auctions.

eBay announced late Thursday that it had agreed to acquire the apartment rental service Rent.com for $415 million, the latest move in its expansion beyond Internet auctions.

Rent.com, based in Santa Monica, Calif., is a privately held company that matches landlords with tenants online, charging property owners for each lease produced through the Web site.

eBay has recently expanded beyond its online auctions roots into areas such as classified ad listings. In August, the San Jose, Calif., company acquired a 25 percent stake in Craigslist, an online listing of classified ads and forums. In July, the online auction giant announced it would enter the music download business with a service that markets content from major record labels.

"The Rent.com business model is an excellent fit with eBay, a company we have long admired," Scott Ingraham, CEO of Rent.com said in a statement. "We are especially pleased that our customers will have the opportunity to benefit from the power of eBay and its community of users."

eBay said it would pay about $385 million in stock and $30 million in cash for Rent.com, which expects revenues in 2004 to total more than $40 million. Launched nationally in 2001, Rent.com is the most visited apartment listing Web site in the United States, according to comScore MediaMetrix

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.

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