Bankrate & Move: Cheaper To Partner Than Merge (RATE, MOVE)

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Bankrate, Inc. (NASDAQ:RATE) And Move, Inc. (NASDAQ:MOVE) have announced a distribution agreement for Bankrate to be the provider of mortgage and home equity rate data on the Move network of Web sites. Move will also make select content in the form of Bankrate articles and features available to the millions of monthly users on its network.

Just a year ago these companies would have (or maybe could have) likelyjust considered an outright merger.  But with Move being so much moretied specifically to real estate you can’t blame Bankrate for justwanting to partner with them.  In uncertain times for key aspects ofeach company’s operations, for now at least, it is cheaper to partnerthan it is to actually acquire.  This effort costs basically nothing,while merging two companies like this could be more than complicated inan environment where online financial companies have to watch theirbottom line closer than ever.

Bankrates’s market cap is $724 million and Move’s market cap is $441 million. Bankrate shares closed Wednesday at $39.37, and its 52-week trading range is $25.16 to $53.14.  Move shares closed Wednesday at $2.84, and its 52-week trading range is $2.36 to $6.69.

Jon Ogg can be reached at jonogg@247wallst.com; he produces the 24/7 Wall St. SPECIAL SITUATION INVESTING NEWSLETTER and he does not own securities in the companies he covers.