RealTime IT News

priceline.com Takes 49% of Mortgage Business

Priceline.com said Tuesday that it will acquire 49 percent of Jacksonville, Fla.-based PricelineMortgage, an online loan origination business using its "Name Your Own Price" software founded by the Norwalk, Conn.-based company and Alliance Capital Partners.

The business was set up last year as a royalty-based licensee of priceline.com. At that time, priceline.com provided funding with the provision that the investment could be converted, at priceline.com's option, into a 49-percent equity stake. Since February, PricelineMortgage has been operating profitably.

"PricelineMortgage has successfully leveraged that reputation," said priceline.com Chairman and CEO Richard S. Braddock. "In fact, consumer acceptance of the service has gained momentum in light of recent rate trends. PricelineMortgage has definitely proven itself in the market."

priceline.com declined to disclose the terms of the transaction, except to say it will not need to make any additional investment to change its equity stake.

Priceline.com said it expects PricelineMortgage to be financially accretive to the business. The results will be consolidated with priceline.com's financial results in the 4th quarter 2001. However, it emphasized that the business is not material to priceline.com's results at this time.

Also, PricelineMortgage announced the launch of a guaranteed best-rate promotion, which will be available through Nov. 30. PricelineMortgage is guaranteeing that it will get borrowers the lowest cost loan on the market at the time or pay them $300.