Experian buys PriceGrabber.com for $485 million

Financial services company Experian got into the holiday shopping spirit on Wednesday by acquiring PriceGrabber.com LLC, a popular online comparison shopping site. Experian’s parent company, London-based Gus PLC, said it paid US$485 million for PriceGrabber.com.

PriceGrabber.com, which searches a database with products from around 9,000 merchants, competes with a myriad of similar sites including eBay Inc.’s Shopping.com, Shopzilla.com, Google Inc.’s Froogle and Yahoo Inc.’s Yahoo Shopping. In addition to operating its own destination site, PriceGrabber.com provides the engine that powers comparison searches on 300 other sites, including Macworld’s PriceGrabber.

Six-year-old PriceGrabber.com is based in Los Angeles. All of the company’s 140 employees will be retained, Experian said.

Privately-held PriceGrabber.com estimates its sales over the past 12 months at $60 million. Experian hopes to use its Internet marketing data and analytics technologies to hone PriceGrabber.com’s services.

Best known for its credit reporting and analysis services, Experian also operates a group of consumer-focused Internet financial and marketing Web sites, including LowerMyBills.com (acquired in May), education portal ClassesUSA.com (acquired in July) and affiliate marketing network operator Affiliate Fuel (acquired in April).

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