FTC Complains Against CoStar's Planned Acquisition Of Competitor RentPath

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The Federal Trade Commission has filed an administrative complaint and authorized a suit in federal court, to prevent CoStar Group Inc.'s $587.5-million planned acquisition of its competitor RentPath Holdings, Inc., the FTC said in a statement.

CoStar is a provider of commercial real estate information, analytics and online marketplaces. The company operates a number of websites including Apartments.com, ApartmentFinder.com, and ForRent.com.

RentPath provides digital marketing service for rental properties through a network of Internet listing websites, including Rent.com, ApartmentGuide.com, Rentals.com and Lovely.com.

In February this year CoStar had announced its plans to buy RentPath's business for $587.5 million, in connection with RentPath's Chapter 11 bankruptcy process.

70 percent of apartment complexes with 200 or more units, and about 50 percent of apartment buildings with 100 to 199 units advertise on internet listing services operated by either CoStar, or RentPath, or both. The already crowded internet listing services market would be more concentrated with this acquisition, the FTC alleged in its complaint.

"CoStar and RentPath operate several of the most popular sites, and their aggressive, head-to-head competition has kept advertising rates low while offering consumers a convenient, data-rich tool for finding an apartment. This acquisition will eliminate price and quality competition that benefits both renters and property managers," said Daniel Francis, Deputy Director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition.

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