Going once, going twice, sold to eBay for about $415 million. That was the call on online apartment listing service Rent.com, whose planned acquisition by eBay was announced in late December.
The deal will allow eBay to expand into a new segment of the online real estate market, while helping Rent.com reach millions of new would-be renters. “We think we can help Rent.com further scale its business and also look at how we can possibly take advantage of the synergies to boost our own real estate category,” says Hani Durzy, an eBay spokesperson. eBay's real estate section currently focuses on land listings and time shares. It will link to Rent.com, which will continue to operate as its own Web site.
As for Rent.com, its new eBay relationship is expected to bring new credibility to the multifamily site, resulting in more renter traffic and increased property listings from both large and small landlords, says Scott Ingraham, CEO of Rent.com.
“We think that with eBay behind us, our potential to increase our renter traffic and increase our leasing volume to our property customers will go up substantially,” he says. “And that was a big consideration in doing this transaction.”
In fact, eBay's successful business operations inspired Ingraham to create Rent.com back in October 2001. “It's kind of poetic for us to have had eBay as a role model and then end up selling our company to them,” Ingraham says.
After the acquisition, Ingraham will serve as general manager of eBay's Rent.com subsidiary. All employees are expected to continue with the company, with Rent.com headquarters remaining in Santa Monica, Calif. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2005.