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eBay snaps up Rent.com for $415m

Internet auction firm eBay has agreed to buy Rent.com for $415m (£214m) giving it access to more of the online property market.

eBay will pay $385m in stocks and $30m in cash, with the deal set to be completed in the first quarter of 2005.

It has been expanding both at home and abroad this year, and has bought into firms in South Korea and Germany.

Rent.com, which helps users find flats as well as housemates, has annual sales of about $40m and was launched in 2001.

"The acquisition will enable eBay to expand into a new segment of the online real estate market," the auction house said in a statement.

It also will allow "Rent.com to continue to scale its business with the resources and expertise of eBay".

The purchase is expected to have a slight effect on eBay's earnings next year, the company said.

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