Homestore.com Rises on Bank of America Alliance

Homestore.com (Nasdaq: HOMS) roseUS$2.26 to $25.48 in morning trading Tuesday, after announcing an alliancewith Bank of America (NYSE: BAC).

The bank and the online real-estate company said they had launched an onlinemarketplace offering home-buying, financing, maintenance and improvementservices to consumers. The new site is the first part of a $10.5 million, multi-year marketing and Web servicesagreement, the companies said.

Consumers will be able to customize information about home buying and homeimprovement over the site, which will offer services includingpre-qualifying for mortgages and moving arrangements, the companies said.

Kevin Shannon, president of Bank of America Consumer Real Estate, said thebank aims to give customers “an innovative, end-to-end homeownershipservice.”

Homestore already has exclusive agreements with the National Association ofRealtors, the National Association of Homebuilders and other industrygroups, in addition to a partnership with America Online.

In January, Homestore, based in Westlake Village, California, reported fourth-quarterincome before extraordinary items of $3.3 million, or 4 cents per share,compared with a loss of $16.2 million, or 23 cents, in the year-earlierquarter.

Revenue rose to $79 million from $28 million. The company has saidit expects first-quarter 2001 revenue of $81 million to $83 million, withpro forma earnings of 5 to 7 cents per share.

Homestore.com’s network, which includes such sites as Realtor.com,HomeBuilder.com and HomeFair.com, saw a 102 percent increase in the averagenumber of unique vistors per month during the fourth quarter. Each userspent an average of 19.7 minutes per month on the network, up 11 percentfrom the year-earlier quarter.

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