Apartments On Offer At EBay?Apartments On Offer At EBay?
EBay is buying Rent.com for $415 million. It would be its first foray into online rental classifieds.
December 17, 2004
EBay Inc., the auction site that lists objects from fountain pens to deeds for lunar properties, is getting into a new real estate market that's (hopefully) a little less exotic. It's buying Rent.com, an online apartment-rental service, for $415 million in stock and cash.
A spokesman for eBay says the apartment-rental market is big but it's also fragmented. It's difficult for would-be renters to hook up with all potential landlords. EBay execs believe the market can be made more efficient through services like that of privately held Rent.com. Rent.com focuses primarily on rental apartments in large multiunit complexes. It lists 4 million units, according to the eBay spokesman. Assuming the deal is approved by regulators and shareholders, Rent.com would continue to operate under its own name but within the sprawling eBay site. It's too early to know if bringing Rent.com aboard will mean expanding eBay's business-technology infrastructure, said the spokesman. It's likely to be a topic of conversation soon after the deal closes, which is expected to happen by March.
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