LendingTree, the rapidly growing web brokerage site for home loans and other financing, is selling out.
USA Interactive, led by Barry Diller, said Monday morning it is acquiring LendingTree for $720 million in stock. The price breaks down to some $21 a share compared to LendingTree’s price of $14.69 on Friday.
LendingTree stock skyrocketed $6 a share in early trading today and closed at $20.72, up 40 percent.
“We believe that the merger with USA creates significant value for our shareholders, not only because of the transaction itself but also because of the opportunity to participate in USA’s tremendous future as a leader in interactive commerce,” said Doug Ledba, LendingTree’s founder, in a statement.
“This will create the opportunity for us to accelerate our growth in the consumer lending and real estate verticals, leveraging our scalable business model and leading brand with USA’s capital, management expertise and synergies with other USA businesses, particularly those that help penetrate local markets. Working together we can add significant value to consumers, lenders and REALTORSÂ®, while producing impressive growth and financial returns for shareholders. On a personal level, I am excited to join the USA family, and for the opportunities this will provide for all of LendingTree’s employees and business partners.”
The companies said that Lebda, and president, Tom Reddin, as well as other senior management would remain with LendingTree.
USA Interactive is in the process of buying out Expedia and Hotels.com as well.
In a statement, Diller said acquiring LendingTree was the “perfect solution” for the company to enter into financial services.
LendingTree has been growing quickly, posting a profit of $5 million the last quarter, and also added additional financial services ranging from car loans to personal loans.