Brief: eBay snaps up Rent.com for $415M

Enters online apartment rentals market

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

EBay will pay about $385 million in stock and $30 million in cash for the Santa Monica, Calif., company. Rent.com was 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 $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% stake in San Francisco-based Craigslist to beef up its classified advertising business. Last month, it scooped up Holland's top classifieds site, Marktplaats.nl, for about $290 million.

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