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LendingTree Gets Smart

Officials at Charlotte, N.C.-based LendingTree, said Tuesday that the company has agreed to acquire GetSmart.com, a financial services marketplace that offers consumers access to a variety of credit card and loan products.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

For LendingTree, an operating business of IAC/InterActive Corp , the move marks the second growth spurt in four months. This June, the company enhanced its relationship with Yahoo! Finance by announcing that it would begin offering services from its network of lenders to Yahoo! Real Estate customers.

"The decision to acquire GetSmart reflects our commitment to provide lenders with an increasing level of consumer loan requests," said Doug Lebda, LendingTree CEO. "We look forward to sharing best practices between LendingTree and GetSmart to ensure that we send our lender and real estate broker partners the highest quality of customers."

GetSmart.com, owned by San Francisco-based Providian Financial Corp. since 1999, offers consumers access to products including mortgages, home equity loans, credit cards, and auto loans. Warren Wilcox, Providian's vice chairman of marketing and strategic planning, said the company plans to "cross-promote" products and services with LendingTree in the future.

At LendingTree, Lebda echoed these sentiments exactly. In a prepared statement, the company leader and founder noted that his company plans to maintain relationships with the lenders who participate in the GetSmart network, and hopes to offer the GetSmart platform to lenders on the LendingTree exchange.

LendingTree, which has facilitated more than $48 billion in loans since 1996, boasts more than 200 lenders, many of which operate in the areas of mortgages and home equity. GetSmart.com, on the other hand, boasts most of its products in the areas of credit cards and automotive loans. Since the two strengths are so different, Craig Focardi, a senior analyst in the consumer credit practice at the Tower Group, said the companies should complement each other nicely.

"This is a move that benefits both parties involved," Focardi told internetnews.com "Both [companies] get stronger as a result."

According to Lebda, the acquisition should be completed in December.



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