Primedia to buy Rent.com from eBay

Deal is expected to close in Q2

In a move that it says will offer its advertisers more options and greater visibility, rental search company Primedia Inc. has announced it will acquire eBay subsidiary Rent.com for an undisclosed amount.

Primedia, based in the Atlanta area, said it had entered into an agreement to buy Rent.com in a transaction expected to close in second-quarter 2012. Online auction and shopping company eBay acquired Rent.com in February 2005 in a deal valued at about $415 million.

Primedia owns several property search sites, including ApartmentGuide.com, Rentals.com and RentalHouses.com.

While Primedia’s websites are based on a traditional subscription model, Rent.com has a pay-per-lease model in which the site charges a "success fee" when a renter who finds the property on Rent.com signs a lease, Primedia told Inman News. Rent.com also gives tenants a reward card when they sign a lease on a property found through the site.

"The acquisition will give clients of each of (Primedia’s websites) and Rent.com more options on how they choose to list their properties. Primedia’s subscription model and Rent.com’s pay-for-performance model are attractive to different types of clients," the company said.

Primedia’s clients include property management companies, landlords, new-home builders and real estate professionals.

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Charles Stubbs, Primedia’s president and CEO, will lead the combined company, according to the announcement.

"Rent.com has a strong reputation, brand awareness, history and URL," Stubbs said in a statement. "Both Rent.com and Primedia have long track records of delivering a high-quality consumer and client experience in the marketplace."

Citing figures from comScore, Primedia said its network of rental sites averages more than 5 million unique visitors per month, while Rent.com attracts an average of 3 million and 4 million unique visitors per month. As of March 24, Rent.com was the seventh most popular real estate-related site on the Web, according to rankings from Experian Hitwise. Primedia’s Apartment Guide ranked ninth.

There are no plans to combine any of Primedia’s websites with Rent.com, the company said.

Global private investment firm TPG Capital acquired Primedia in July 2011. The firm also acquired San Diego, Calif.-based real estate information service DataQuick and other subsidiaries of British Columbia-based MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates Ltd. in Jan 2011.


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