LendingTree to buy Domania

Shopping spree continues with acquisition of second Primedia unit

LendingTree is growing again. The lender marketplace and find-a-Realtor dot-com service will acquire Domania within the next 60-90 days, Inman News has learned.

The Domania asset purchase follows hard upon LendingTree’s buy late last month of RealEstate.com, a separate online service that Primedia purchased in December 2002. Primedia bought Domania in November 2002.

LendingTree is keeping mum about its Domania strategy for the time being, although more information may be disclosed when the transaction closes, according to LendingTree spokesperson Mindy Neubauer.

“We anticipate this service will help our lenders with customer acquisition and retention and will enable us to serve our lenders and consumer clients better,” she said.

Indeed, Domania’s products could benefit LendingTree’s lender marketplace, while LendingTree’s data and other content could prove useful for Domania’s lender customers, according to Steve Kropper, Domania founder and chief. Domania’s Web site lists Chase Manhattan Mortgage, CitiMortgage, Charter One Mortgage, Loanbright, ZipRealty and HomeGain as being among its customers.

The acquired assets consist of two sets of technology, products and existing customer lists, plus a dozen or so Domania employees. The technology sets are Domania’s “consumer-facing” product lines, in particular the Home Price Check service, and Domania’s “business-facing” product lines, which include mortgage loan origination analytics, customer profiling and back-office operations, according to Kropper.

Kropper expects Domania’s business to be largely unchanged in the near term, though the two corporations will move to leverage each other’s assets in the long term. The technology unit along with its current management and employees will remain in Boston.

The transaction is in the early stages and details have yet to be disclosed. Primedia’s venture capital investors are believed to be in search of liquidity, and that would suggest an all-cash or at least largely cash deal. The terms of the deal have been agreed upon; closing the transaction depends on conveyance of the assets and certain other legal-type requirements.

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