MS, Partners Form Home Mortgage Company

STOCKHOLM (03/16/2000) - Microsoft Corp. today announced that it will take a majority stake in a new online home mortgage and real estate company, called HomeAdvisor Technologies Inc., which the software giant is forming with several partners.

Over a year in development, the new venture was designed to provide American home buyers with a speedier and cheaper mortgage-closing process as well as lower rates, Microsoft said in a statement.

Microsoft's partners in HomeAdvisor Technologies include Freddie Mac, Chase Manhattan, GMAC-Residential Financing Corp., Norwest Mortgage Inc. and Bank of America.

Financial details were not available, but the statement said all of the partners will have an equity interest in the joint company and that Freddie Mac, in addition to having a financial interest, also has made "significant technology contributions" to the venture.

HomeAdvisor Technologies' new loan services will debut in the coming weeks at its Web site at http://www.homeadvisor.com. The site will be closely tied to MSN, Microsoft's Internet service, through a long-term commercial agreement, according to the statement.

In the same statement, the new company also announced the acquisition of Tuttle Decision Systems Inc. and its electronic services system, which links more than 800 mortgage banks across the U.S. to the nation's largest mortgage conduits.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not available.

Microsoft President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer, together with executives from the venture's partners, later today will formally announce the formation of the new company, HomeAdvisor Technologies Inc., to an audience of over 100 American real estate brokers.

Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, can be reached via the Web at http://www.microsoft.com/.

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