Real estate franchisor Cendant Corp. sold 6.7 million shares of its total investment in Homestore for proceeds of nearly $26 million in the last two months, according to insider transaction forms filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

On Dec. 17, Cendant conducted two private sales of 1 million and 3.4 million shares at stock prices of $3.70 and $3.33, respectively. On Jan. 20, Cendant sold another 2.3 million shares at $4.75 a share. Cendant still owned more than 11.4 million shares, or 9.5 percent of the shares outstanding, of Homestore after those sales of stock.

Cendant became a major stockholder of Homestore in February 2001, when the real estate franchise chain owner sold its Move.com unit to the Southern California-based online real estate company in a deal worth $700 million. Cendant received approximately 26.3 million shares of Homestore in the deal, which gave Homestore title to Move.com, Rent.net, House.net, SeniorHousing.net, Self Storage.net and Welcome Wagon.

Cendant distanced itself from Homestore when the dot-com became embroiled in an accounting irregularity scandal. In May 2002, Cendant wrote off its investment in Homestore, according to a company press release.

A Cendant spokesperson said the corporation doesn’t comment on transactions that aren’t material to its financial results.

Homestore in August 2003 agreed to register approximately 18.3 million shares of Homestore common stock that Cendant owned, according to a Homestore press release at the time.

As part of the agreement, Cendant granted Homestore an option to purchase up to approximately 7.26 million of those shares at fair market value established at the time of exercise.

Homestore operates the Realtor.com Web site for the National Association of Realtors, among other business activities. A Homestore spokesperson said the company’s doesn’t comment on the trading actvity of its shareholders.

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