May 10, 2012, 11:08 AM

Experian will sell PriceGrabber

Ybrant Digital will buy PriceGrabber in a deal worth $175 million.

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Experian PLC will sell three of its online assets to an Indian digital marketing company for $175 million. The sale, to Ybrant Digital Ltd., includes comparison shopping engine PriceGrabber and lead generation sites LowerMyBills and ClassesUSA.

Experian paid $485 million to buy PriceGrabber and approximately $330 million to buy LowerMyBills, both in 2005, a total of $815 million. The sale price today, unadjusted for inflation, is $640 million less than what Experian paid in 2005 and only 21% of that original investment.

PriceGrabber.com, which charges advertisers that show up in search results a fee each time a consumer clicks on their listings, ranked sixth in terms of traffic among comparison shopping engines in the United States during the first quarter of 2012, according to CPC Strategy, a company that helps online retailers sell through comparison shopping engines. It ranked fourth for conversions among the 10 shopping engines included in the survey. CPC Strategy’s rankings are based on the Q1 results of 113 of its e-commerce clients.

Since Experian bought PriceGrabber in 2005, search engine Google Inc. has made inroads in the comparison shopping space with Google Product Search. Google does not charge merchants a per-click fee for their products that appear in Product Search results. Google Product Search ranked second in comparison shopping traffic during the first quarter and first in conversions, CPC Strategy says. Amazon.com Inc., through its Product Ads service, another marketing alternative for retailers to comparison shopping sites, came in first for traffic and sixth for conversions. Amazon.com is No. 1 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide.

Ybrand Digital says its acquisition of PriceGrabber, LowerMyBills and ClassesUSA will nearly double its current revenue, which Ybrand did not reveal. “By adding these established brands to Ybrant, we will offer interesting new products, and a world class lead generation platform,” says Suresh Reddy, chairman and CEO of Ybrant Digital.

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