Ebay snaps up Rent.com for US$415 million

Ebay has agreed to acquire property listings site Rent.com for US$415 million in its latest move to expand beyond online auctions, the company said late Thursday.

Ebay will pay about US$385 million in stock and US$30 million in cash for the Santa Monica, California, company. Rent.com launched nationally in 2001 and is the most visited site for apartment listings in the U.S., eBay said.

Apartment owners list properties for free and pay a fee when the property is rented. The privately-held company expects 2004 revenues to exceed US$40 million, eBay said. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2005 pending approval from regulators and Rent.com's stockholders.

In August eBay acquired a 25-percent stake in San Francisco-based Craigslist to beef up its classifieds business. Last month it scooped up Holland's top classifieds site, Marktplaats.nl, for about US$290 million.

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