February 21, 2008, 12:00 AM

Comparison engine PriceGrabber could be up for sale

Parent company Experian, the international consumer credit reporting service, has confirmed that it is reviewing whether PriceGrabber fits within its portfolio. Experian bought PriceGrabber in December 2005 for $485 million.

PriceGrabber could be up for grabs.

Responding to press reports that it might be considering a sale of the online comparison shopping engine, parent company Experian Group Ltd. issued a statement recently saying it “is undertaking a review of PriceGrabber and its fit within the Experian portfolio.”

The announcement came only a few weeks after Experian executives had unveiled plans to cut $80 million in costs as the Dublin, Ireland-based company sought to protect its profits during a time of turmoil in global credit markets.

Experian does not break out PriceGrabber’s financial results, but CEO Don Robert told financial analysts last month that “PriceGrabber performed very well in the critical holiday shopping quarter.” Noting that consumer electronics was the most important category for PriceGrabber, chief financial officer Paul Brooks added that the comparison engine’s potential for growing in other categories along with the ongoing growth in online shopping should “more than offset any negative impacts that may arise in the more depressed retail environment.”

Experian, which provides consumer credit ratings and other data services, acquired PriceGrabber in December 2005 for $485 million.

PriceGrabber ranked ninth in an August 2007 survey of U.S. comparison shopping engines with 4.7 million unique visitors that month, according to web measurement firm comScore Inc.

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