Homestore Coughs Up Consumer Credit Unit

Clint Boulton

Updated · Mar 19, 2002

Looking to bolster its balance sheet, embattled Homestore Tuesday agreed to sell its unit to
Experian for $130 million in cash.

The WestLake Village, Calif. real estate firm’s division provides consumers credit information online and will no doubt be used by
Nottingham, U.K.’s Experian to beef up its customer relationship management (CRM) provisions. Homestore, which since January has been hounded by
accusations of accounting improprieties such as reporting inflated online advertising revenues, desires to focus on its core real
estate business with the sell.

“This transaction divests Homestore of a business that is not central to our real estate focus and allows us to redeploy substantial
resources to our primary business objective — making real estate professionals more productive and profitable,” said Homestore
Chief Executive Officer Mike Long in a public statement.

With the deal, which is subject to Hart-Scott-Rodino clearance, Homestore expects to be generating positive cash flow from
operations by the end of the year.

On March 13, Homestore said it completed its
restatement of earnings for the year 2000, revealing that $36.4 million in ad revenue had been improperly recorded as independent
cash transactions. The transactions in question “were reciprocal exchanges that should have been evaluated as barter transactions.”
Now the firm is examining financial results for first three quarters of 2001 as a result of its internal accounting probe.

Adding fuel to the fire was the fact that the very organization that was scrutinizing Homestore, the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC), said it was peeping on transactions
inked between Los Angeles ad network L90 .

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  • Clint Boulton
    Clint Boulton

    Clint Boulton, a senior writer at CIO, covers IT leadership, digital transformation, and the CIO role. He was a content marketer for Dell APEX. Inspire IT leaders with tales about the advantages of multi-cloud infrastructures. Dunning-Kruger bias is something that keeps IT leaders sceptical, but curious nonetheless.

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