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Microsoft to Spin Off

March 16, 2000|From Associated Press

REDMOND, Wash. — Microsoft Corp. plans to spin off its Web venture, a home buying and mortgage site currently part of the Microsoft Network.

Microsoft would retain majority control of the new company, to be called HomeAdvisor Technologies Inc. Other shareholders and partners in the venture include Freddie Mac, Chase Manhattan Corp., GMAC-Residential Funding Corp. and Norwest Mortgage.

Microsoft was expected to announce the move today.

Brian Mistele, general manager of the new company, said the site will continue to provide loan information and applications to potential home owners but plans to speed up the approval process.

"We think we can cut the time needed to get approval from a matter of weeks to a matter of days," Mistele said.

HomeAdvisor will incorporate a new neighborhood database to give rapid assessments of potential properties. Every home sold in the last 10 years in the United States is listed on the database, Mistele said.

HomeAdvisor will also license its technology to mortgage companies and Realtors, and will upgrade the Web site to include other aspects of home ownership, such as maintenance and repair.

The new venture continues Microsoft's trend of spinning off successful Web sites. Travel site was spun off last year and has since gone public. Mistele said a stock offering was "part of the plan" for HomeAdvisor Technologies Inc.

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