LendingTree, Inc.
Tree.com, Inc. (Form: 10-K, Received: 02/28/2011 17:28:40)

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549



FORM 10-K



(Mark One)    

ý

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2010

or

o

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from                                  to                                 

Commission File No. 001-34063



TREE.COM, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
  26-2414818
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

11115 Rushmore Drive, Charlotte, North Carolina 28277
(Address of Registrant's principal executive offices)

(704) 541-5351
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each Class
Common Stock, $0.01 Par Value
  Name of exchange on which registered
The NASDAQ Stock Market

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None



         Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes  o     No  ý

         Indicated by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes  o     No  ý

         Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes  ý     No  o

         Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes  o     No  o

         Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of Registrant's knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  o

         Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer" and "smaller reporting company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

Large accelerated filer  o   Accelerated filer  o   Non-accelerated filer  ý
(Do not check if a smaller reporting company)
  Smaller reporting company  o

         Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes  o     No  ý

         The aggregate market value of the voting common stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant as of June 30, 2010 was $40,037,156. For the purposes of the forgoing calculation only, all directors and executive officers of the Registrant and third parties that own 10% or more of the voting common stock are assumed to be affiliates of the Registrant.

         As of February 23, 2011, there were 10,968,538 shares of the Registrant's common stock, par value $.01 per share, outstanding.

Documents Incorporated By Reference:

         Portions of the Registrant's proxy statement for its 2011 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III herein.



TABLE OF CONTENTS

 
   
  Page
Number

 

PART I

   

Item 1.

 

Business

 
1

Item 1A.

 

Risk Factors

  6

Item 1B.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

  20

Item 2.

 

Properties

  20

Item 3.

 

Legal Proceedings

  21

Item 4.

 

Removed and Reserved

  24

 

PART II

   

Item 5.

 

Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 
25

Item 6.

 

Selected Financial Data

  27

Item 7.

 

Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

  28

Item 7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

  46

Item 8.

 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

  47

Item 9.

 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

  104

Item 9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

  104

Item 9B.

 

Other Information

  105

 

PART III

   

Item 10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 
106

Item 11.

 

Executive Compensation

  106

Item 12.

 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

  106

Item 13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

  107

Item 14.

 

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

  107

 

PART IV

   

Item 15.

 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

 
108

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PART I

Item 1.    Business

History and Overview

        Tree.com, Inc. (also referred to herein as "Tree.com" or the "Company") is the parent of LendingTree, LLC and is the parent of several companies owned by LendingTree, LLC. LendingTree, LLC (formerly, LendingTree, Inc.) was incorporated in the state of Delaware in June 1996 and commenced nationwide operations in July 1998. LendingTree, Inc. was acquired by IAC/InterActiveCorp ("IAC") in 2003 and converted to a Delaware limited liability company (LendingTree, LLC) in December 2004. On August 20, 2008, Tree.com, Inc. (along with its subsidiary, LendingTree, LLC) was spun off from IAC into a separate publicly traded company. We refer to the separation transaction as the "spin-off." Tree.com was originally incorporated as a Delaware corporation in April 2008, in anticipation of the spin-off.

        Tree.com is also the owner of several brands and businesses that provide information, tools, advice, products and services for critical transactions in our customers' lives. Our family of brands includes: LendingTree.com®, GetSmart.com®, RealEstate.com®, DegreeTree.com®, HealthTree.com®, LendingTreeAutos.com, DoneRight.com®, and InsuranceTree.com®. Together, these brands serve as an ally for consumers who are looking to comparison shop for loans, real estate and other services from multiple businesses and professionals who will compete for their business.

        These businesses and brands are operated under the segments known as LendingTree Loans, the Exchanges and Real Estate, each of which is discussed below. For additional information regarding these segments, see Note 8—Segment Information to the consolidated financial statements contained in Item 8 of this report.

LendingTree Loans

        LendingTree Loans originates, processes, approves and funds various consumer mortgage loans through a Tree.com subsidiary, Home Loan Center, Inc., which operates primarily under the brand name "LendingTree Loans®." LendingTree Loans maintains offices in California and is able to provide a broad range of mortgage loan offerings to consumers in all fifty states and the District of Columbia, primarily conforming and prime loans, and, to a lesser extent, non-conforming and FHA loans. Products available include both adjustable and fixed rate loans.

        LendingTree Loans® branded loan originations are principally derived from consumer loan requests received through www.lendingtree.com, www.getsmart.com or 1-800-555-TREE. A portion of all consumer loan request forms received through these channels are referred to LendingTree Loans. LendingTree Loans offers those consumers a choice among various loan alternatives, with loan pricing based upon different wholesale offerings received by LendingTree Loans from the secondary market investors who purchase the loans. LendingTree Loans maintains controls to ensure that its consumer loan pricing correlates to secondary market pricing and to ensure that its consumers receive multiple loan alternatives, thus maintaining the competition and choice elements inherent in the LendingTree brand. Tree.com believes that LendingTree Loans provides value to consumers who do not wish to negotiate with multiple lenders, but still wish to obtain loan alternatives.

        LendingTree Loans® branded loans are funded and closed using proceeds from borrowings under available warehouse lines of credit. Substantially all of the loans funded are sold, along with the accompanying loan servicing rights, to investors in the secondary market, generally within 30 days of funding, with the proceeds from such sales being used to repay borrowings under the warehouse lines of credit. For terms of the warehouse lines of credit, see "Financial Position, Liquidity and Capital Resources."

        Although most of Home Loan Center, Inc.'s consumer leads are sourced through www.lendingtree.com or 1-800-555-TREE and originated under the LendingTree Loans® brand, a small portion of Home Loan Center, Inc.'s leads are sourced from a variety of non-LendingTree channels, including third-party online lead aggregators, direct mail marketing campaigns and www.homeloancenter.com . When obtaining leads from third-party sources, Home Loan Center, Inc.

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operates under its traditional name and brand (Home Loan Center). Consumers who request loans through the Home Loan Center brand typically receive single loan offers. Home Loan Center branded loans are funded, closed and sold into the secondary market in the same manner, and on substantially the same terms, as LendingTree Loans® branded loans.

        Revenues from direct lending operations are principally derived from the sale of loans to secondary market investors and from origination and other fees paid by borrowers. Of Home Loan Center, Inc.'s five secondary market investors in 2010, the three largest, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, represented approximately 25%, 24% and 11%, respectively, of Tree.com's consolidated revenue in 2010. See "Risk Factors—Third Party Relationships"

    Competition

        Tree.com believes that the primary competitors of LendingTree Loans are traditional lending institutions, including those that are developing their own direct, online lending channels. While these financial institutions do not operate lending networks, they process, close and fund loans as direct lenders through well-recognized, national brands, many of which are industry leaders. LendingTree Loans also faces additional competition from direct lending websites owned and operated by other online lenders that originate the bulk of their loans through their websites or by phone. These companies typically operate a consumer-branded website and attract consumers via online banner ads, key word placement on search engines, partnering with affiliates, and business development arrangements with other properties, including major online portals.

    SurePoint Acquisition

        In November 2010, LendingTree Loans entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement with First Residential Mortgage Network, Inc. dba SurePoint Lending ("SurePoint") and the shareholders of SurePoint. SurePoint has been a LendingTree network lender for more than 11 years and was named the number one refinance lender on the LendingTree network in 2009. SurePoint has nearly 500 employees, including more than 300 licensed loan officers.

        The Agreement provides for the purchase by LendingTree Loans of certain specified assets and liabilities of SurePoint. The acquired assets also include all of the equity interests of Real Estate Title Services, LLC. Under the terms of the agreement, LendingTree Loans will make an initial payment of approximately $6 million in cash upon the closing of the transaction and will make contingent consideration payments on an annual basis for the next thirty-six months based on LendingTree Loans' pre-tax net income derived from the assets acquired. The aggregate purchase price, including the initial payment and contingent consideration, will not exceed $23 million. The Company expects to use available cash to fund the acquisition. The transaction is projected to close in March 2011.

Exchanges

    Our Lending Networks

        Consumers can access Tree.com's nationwide network (the "Network") of more than 200 banks, lenders and loan brokers online (via www.lendingtree.com or www.getsmart.com ) or by calling 1-800-555-TREE. Loans offered by these banks, lenders and loan brokers (the "Network Lenders") consist primarily of home mortgages (in connection with refinancings and purchases) and home equity loans.

        Tree.com selects lenders throughout the country in an effort to provide full geographic lending coverage and to offer a complete suite of loan offerings available in the market. Typically, before a lender joins the Network, Tree.com performs credit and financial reviews on the lender. In addition, as a further quality assurance measure, Tree.com checks new lenders against a national antifraud database maintained by the Mortgage Asset Research Institute. All Network Lenders are required to enter into a contract that generally may be terminated upon notice by either party. No individual Network Lender accounted for more than 5% of the Exchanges revenue in any period.

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        Consumers seeking mortgage loans through one of Tree.com's lending networks can receive multiple conditional loan offers from Network Lenders, or from Tree.com's subsidiary doing business under the name "LendingTree Loans" (as described above), in response to a single loan request form.

        The process by which Exchanges matches consumers and Network Lenders is referred to herein as the "matching process." This matching process consists of the following steps:

    Credit Request.   Consumers complete a single loan request form for the selected loan with information regarding their income, assets and liabilities, loan preferences and other data. Consumers also consent to the retrieval of their credit report.

    Loan Request Form Matching and Transmission.   Tree.com proprietary technology matches a given consumer's loan request form data, credit profile and geographic location against certain pre-established creditworthiness criteria of Network Lenders, which may be modified from time to time. Once a given loan request passes through the matching process, the loan request is automatically transmitted to up to five available Network Lenders.

    Lender Evaluation and Response.   Network Lenders who receive a loan request form evaluate the information in the loan request to determine whether to make a conditional loan offer. If a given number of Network Lenders do not respond with a conditional loan offer, the loan request form is directed through the matching process a second time in an attempt to match the consumer with another Network Lender.

    Communication of a Conditional Offer.   If one or more Network Lenders make a conditional offer, the consumer is automatically notified via e-mail to return to the site and log in to a web-page reflecting their customized loan offers ("My Account"). Through the My Account web-page consumers may access and compare the proposed terms of each conditional offer, including interest rate, closing costs, monthly payment amount, lender fees and other information. If a consumer does not have access to e-mail, conditional offers are provided to the consumer by phone or fax.

    Loan Processing.   Consumers work offline with the relevant Network Lender to provide property information and additional information bearing on creditworthiness to the Network Lender. If the Network Lender approves a consumer, it will then underwrite and originate the loan.

    Ongoing Consumer and Lender Support.   Active e-mail and telephone follow-up and support are provided to both Network Lenders and consumers during the loan transaction process. This follow-up and support is designed to provide technical assistance and increase overall satisfaction of Network Lenders, as well as increase the percentage of consumers who close a loan through lenders found through the Exchanges.

        The Exchanges also offer a short-form matching process under the LendingTree® and GetSmart® brands. This process, which provides consumers with lender contact information only, typically requires the consumer to submit less data than that required in connection with the matching process described above.

        The Exchanges do not charge consumers a fee to use their lending networks. Substantially all revenues from lending networks are derived from both up-front matching fees paid by Network Lenders who receive a loan request form and closing fees paid by Network Lenders who close a transaction with the consumer. Because a given loan request form can be matched with more than one Network Lender, up to five match fees may be generated from the same form. Matching fees are recognized at the time the loan request form is transmitted, and closing fees are recognized at the time the Network Lender reports that it has closed the loan, which may be several months after the loan request form is transmitted.

    Other Businesses

        The Exchanges also offer:

    unsecured loans, through which consumers are matched with multiple lenders using a network-based process similar to the mortgage loan matching process described above;

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    automobile loans, through which consumers are linked with one or more third-party automobile lenders;

    credit cards, through which consumers can search various credit card offerings through a third-party vendor;

    various consumer insurance products, pursuant to which consumers are linked with licensed insurance agents and insurance lead aggregators to obtain insurance offers;

    opportunities for prospective students seeking institutions of higher education; and

    home improvement professional services with national and local contractors.

        Revenues from these businesses are derived either from matching and closing fees, or in some cases, volume-based marketing fees. While the revenues from these businesses do not currently represent a significant portion of the revenues of the Exchanges, these revenues are expected to grow over time.

    Competition

        Tree.com's Exchanges compete with other lead aggregators, including online intermediaries that operate network-type arrangements. Tree.com's Exchanges also face additional competition from direct lending websites owned and operated by other online lenders that originate the bulk of their loans through their websites or by phone. These companies typically operate a consumer-branded website and attract consumers via online banner ads, key word placement on search engines, partnering with affiliates, and business development arrangements with other properties, including major online portals.

Real Estate

    Real Estate Brokerage

        RealEstate.com, REALTORS® is Tree.com's proprietary real estate brokerage business (the "brokerage"), which operates in 20 markets across the United States as of December 31, 2010. In January and February of 2011, the Company closed 5 brokerage markets that were unprofitable, and we anticipate closing 2 additional unprofitable brokerage markets in March 2011. The Company is continuing to evaluate the future profitability of all brokerage markets as part of aligning our cost structure with revenue opportunities. Business for the brokerage is generated both by consumers accessing www.realestate.com or by calling 1-800-REALESTATE and by the Company's real estate agents' own contacts and referrals. The brokerage recruits agents to join as independent contractors, for whom it then generates leads, with the brokerage retaining a significant share of the gross commission on closed transactions originating from Company-generated leads (and a lesser share in the case of agent-generated leads). Tree.com uses both a central agent recruiting group in Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as local recruiting efforts, to identify agents who fit its model and would be willing to join the brokerage. Outside of the markets where the Company maintains an office, third-party brokerage services provided by approximately 150 real estate brokerage firms are also available through www.realestate.com or by calling 1-800-REALESTATE. The Company has developed relationships with brokers over the years, and targets prospective companies based on available lead flow by geography, their willingness to work with a lead generation company under Tree.com's terms and conditions, and the belief that such brokerage firms would generate an acceptable closing conversion rate. These third-party brokerage services are available nationwide, as well as in the markets in which RealEstate.com, REALTORS® currently operates. Once the consumer and the real estate professional are matched and agree to work together, the remainder of the transaction is completed locally.

        The RealEstate.com, REALTORS® business earns revenues through the real estate brokerage commissions it collects in connection with company- and agent-generated transactions. For its third party brokerage referral services, the RealEstate.com, REALTORS® business also earns revenue from cooperative brokerage fees paid by participating real estate brokerages.

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    Competition

        Tree.com's real estate business competes with all real estate brokerages within the RealEstate.com, REALTORS® markets. These brokerages are comprised mainly of traditional real estate companies operating as independent brands or franchisees, as well as non-traditional models, such as salaried-agent, fee-for-service, flat-fee, discount, or rebate commission models, many of which generate leads from the Internet. In addition, the Real Estate business competes for customers with companies that are not brokerages, such as websites that aggregate real estate broker listings without related services and customer support. Given the downturn in the credit and mortgage markets and the decline in the number of housing transactions, competition in this segment has increased.

Regulation and Legal Compliance

        Tree.com businesses market and provide services in heavily regulated industries through a number of different online and offline channels across the United States (see "Risk Factors—Compliance and Changing Laws, Rules and Regulations"). As a result, they are subject to a variety of statutes, rules, regulations, policies and procedures in various jurisdictions in the United States, including:

    Restrictions on the amount and nature of fees or interest that may be charged in connection with a loan, in particular, state usury and fee restrictions;

    Restrictions imposed by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the "Dodd-Frank Act") and current or future rules promulgated thereunder, including limitations on fees charged by mortgage lenders;

    Restrictions on the manner in which consumer loans are marketed and originated, including the making of required consumer disclosures, such as the federal Truth-in-Lending Act, the federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, the federal Fair Housing Act, the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), and similar state laws;

    Restrictions on the amount and nature of fees that may be charged to lenders and real estate professionals for providing or obtaining consumer leads, in particular, RESPA;

    Restrictions on the amount and nature of fees that may be charged to consumers for real estate brokerage transactions, including any incentives and rebates that may be offered to consumers by Tree.com businesses;

    State, and in some instances, federal, licensing or registration requirements applicable to both individuals or businesses engaged in the making or brokerage of loans (or certain kinds of loans, such as loans made pursuant to the Federal Housing Act), or the brokering of real estate transactions; and

    State and federal restrictions on the marketing activities conducted by telephone, the mail, by email, or over the internet, including the Telemarketing Sales Rule, state telemarketing laws, federal and state privacy laws, the CAN-SPAM Act, and the Federal Trade Commission Act and its accompanying regulations and guidelines.

Intellectual Property

        We believe that our intellectual property rights are vital to our success. To protect our intellectual property rights in our technology, products, improvements and inventions, we rely on a combination of patents, trademarks, trade secret and other laws, and contractual restrictions on disclosure, including confidentiality agreements with strategic partners, employees, consultants and other third parties. As new or improved proprietary technologies are developed or inventions are identified, we seek patent protection in the United States and abroad as appropriate. We have 6 issued U.S. patents relating to our technologies, including those relating to the method and network for coordinating a loan over the internet. Our various patents expire between 2018 and 2025. We also have approximately 6 pending U.S. patent applications.

        Many of our services are offered under proprietary trademarks and service marks. We generally apply to register or secure by contract our principal trademarks and service marks as they are

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developed and used. We have approximately 82 trademarks and service marks registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. These registrations can typically be renewed at 10-year intervals. We reserve and register domain names when and where we deem appropriate and we currently have approximately 1,500 registered domain names. We also have agreements with third parties that provide for the licensing of patented and proprietary technology used in our business.

        From time to time, we are subjected to legal proceedings and claims, or threatened legal proceedings or claims, including allegations of infringement of third party trademarks, copyrights, patents and other intellectual property rights of third parties. In addition, litigation may be necessary for us to enforce our intellectual property rights, protect trade secrets or to determine the validity and scope of proprietary rights claimed by others. Any litigation of this nature, regardless of outcome or merit, could result in substantial costs and diversion of management and technical resources, any of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. See Item 3 below.

Employees

        As of December 31, 2010, Tree.com had approximately 900 full-time employees. None of Tree.com's employees are represented under collective bargaining agreements. Tree.com considers its relations with its employees and independent contractors to be good.

Seasonality

        LendingTree Loans, Exchanges and Real Estate revenue are subject to the cyclical and seasonal trends of the U.S. housing market. Home sales typically rise during the spring and summer months and decline during the fall and winter months. Refinancing and home equity activity is principally driven by mortgage interest rates as well as real estate values. The broader cyclical trends in the mortgage and real estate markets have upset the usual seasonal trends.

Additional Information

        Company Website and Public Filings.     The Company maintains a website at www.tree.com . None of the information on the Company's website is incorporated by reference in this report, or in any other filings with, or in any information furnished or submitted to, the SEC.

        The Company makes available, free of charge through its website, its Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K (including related amendments) and beneficial ownership reports on Forms 3, 4 and 5 as soon as reasonably practicable after they have been electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC.

        Code of Business Conduct and Ethics.     The Company's code of business conduct and ethics, which applies to all employees, including all executive officers and senior financial officers and directors, is posted on the Company's website at investor-relations.tree.com/governance.cfm . The code of business conduct and ethics complies with Item 406 of SEC Regulation S-K and the rules of The NASDAQ Stock Market. Any amendments to or waivers of the code of business conduct and ethics that are of the type described in Item 406(b) and (d) of Regulation S-K, and any waivers of the code of business conduct and ethics for Tree.com's executive officers, directors or senior financial officers, will also be disclosed on Tree.com's website.

Item 1A.     Risk Factors

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information

        This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The use of words such as "anticipates," "estimates," "expects," "projects," "intends," "plans" and "believes," among others, generally identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, among others, statements relating to: the adequacy of our current warehouse lines for our current operations and our ability to operate our LendingTree Loans business at a reduced capacity if we were to lose one of these lines; our belief that we will continue to adjust selling and marketing expenditures generally in relation to

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revenue producing opportunities and that our selling and marketing efforts will continue to represent a high percentage of our revenues; our Compensation Committee's belief that placing a greater emphasis on incentive arrangements and equity compensation will result in the Company's executives and employees being paid for performance and will better align their incentives with the Company's strategic goals; our belief that we will need to make capital and other expenditures in connection with the development and expansion of our overall operations; and our belief that our sources of liquidity are sufficient to fund our operating needs, including debt requirements, commitments and contingencies, and capital and investing commitments for the foreseeable future. These forward-looking statements also include statements related to: Tree.com's anticipated financial performance; Tree.com's business prospects and strategy; anticipated trends and prospects in the various industries in which Tree.com businesses operate; new products, services and related strategies; and other similar matters. These forward looking statements are based on management's current expectations and assumptions about future events, which are inherently subject to uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict.

        Actual results could differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements included in this report for a variety of reasons, including, among others, the risk factors set forth below. Other unknown or unpredictable factors that could also adversely affect Tree.com's business, financial condition and results of operations may arise from time to time. In light of these risks and uncertainties, the forward-looking statements discussed in this report may not prove to be accurate. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which only reflect the views of Tree.com management as of the date of this report. Tree.com does not undertake to update these forward-looking statements.

Risk Factors

        Tree.com's business, financial condition and results of operations are subject to certain risks that are described below. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones facing Tree.com. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known or currently deemed immaterial may also impair Tree.com's business, financial condition and results of operations.

Adverse Events and Trends—Adverse conditions in the primary and secondary mortgage markets, as well as the economy generally, could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

        The primary and secondary mortgage markets have been experiencing unprecedented and continuing disruption, which has had and is expected to continue to have, an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. These conditions, coupled with adverse economic conditions and continuing declines in residential real estate prices generally, have resulted in and are expected to continue to result in decreased consumer demand for the lending and real estate offerings provided by our networks and other businesses. Generally, increases in interest rates adversely affect the ability of the Exchanges and Network Lenders to close loans, while adverse economic trends limit the ability of the Exchanges and Network Lenders to offer home loans other than low margin conforming loans. Likewise, adverse economic trends have reduced, and are expected to continue to reduce, the number of prospective home purchasers and home prices, which adversely affects our Real Estate business. Our businesses may experience a further decline in demand for their offerings due to decreased consumer demand as a result of the conditions described above now or in the future. Conversely, during periods of robust consumer demand, which are typically associated with decreased interest rates, some Network Lenders may have less incentive to use our networks, or in the case of sudden increases in consumer demand, our Network Lenders may lack the ability to support sudden increases in volume. Prolonged declines in demand for offerings of our businesses could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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        The secondary mortgage markets have also been experiencing unprecedented and continued disruptions resulting from reduced investor demand for mortgage loans and mortgage-backed securities and increased investor yield requirements for those loans and securities. These conditions may continue for a prolonged period of time or worsen in the future. LendingTree Loans/Home Loan Center, Inc. ("HLC") does not have the capital resources or credit necessary to retain the loans it funds and closes and, as a result, sells substantially all such loans within 30 days of funding as discussed above. Accordingly, a prolonged period of secondary market illiquidity may force HLC to significantly reduce the volume of loans that it originates and funds, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

        These disruptions and volatility in the capital and credit markets have resulted in rapid and steep declines in prevailing stock prices, particularly in the financial services sector, as well as downward pressure on credit availability. These adverse conditions adversely affect our Network Lenders, secondary market purchasers, and third-party real estate professionals, and may render them unwilling or unable to continue business relationships with us. If current levels of market disruption and volatility continue or worsen, there can be no assurance that we will not experience an adverse effect on our business relationships and on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Adverse Events and Trends—Difficult market conditions have adversely affected our industry.

        Declines in the housing market since 2008, with falling home prices and increasing foreclosures, unemployment and under-employment, have negatively impacted the credit performance of mortgage loans and resulted in significant write-downs of asset values by financial institutions, including government-sponsored entities as well as major commercial and investment banks. These write-downs, initially of mortgage-backed securities but spreading to other asset-backed securities, credit default swaps and other derivative and cash securities, in turn, have caused many financial institutions to seek additional capital, to merge with larger and stronger institutions and, in some cases, to fail.

        Reflecting concern about the stability of the financial markets generally and the strength of counterparties, many lenders and institutional investors have reduced or ceased providing funding to borrowers, including to other financial institutions. This market turmoil and tightening of credit have led to an increased level of commercial and consumer delinquencies, lack of consumer confidence, increased market volatility and widespread reduction of business activity generally. The resulting economic pressure on consumers and lack of confidence in the financial markets may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

        We do not expect that the difficult conditions in the financial markets will likely improve materially in the near future. A worsening of these conditions would likely exacerbate the adverse effects of these difficult market conditions on us and others in the financial services industry. Further, our business could be adversely affected by the actions and commercial soundness of other businesses in the financial services sector. As a result, defaults by, or even rumors or questions about, one or more of these entities, or the financial services industry generally, have led to market-wide liquidity problems and could lead to losses or defaults by us or by other institutions. Any such losses or defaults could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Adverse Events and Trends—Adverse conditions in the credit markets could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

        The credit markets, in particular those financial institutions that provide warehouse financing and similar arrangements to mortgage lenders, have been experiencing unprecedented and continued disruptions resulting from instability in the mortgage and housing markets. LendingTree Loans originates, processes, approves and funds various consumer mortgage loans through HLC, which operates primarily under the brand name "LendingTree Loans®." These direct lending operations have significant financing needs that are currently being met through borrowings under warehouse lines of

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credit or repurchase agreements to fund and close loans, followed by the sale of substantially all loans funded to investors in the secondary mortgage markets. Current credit market conditions, such as significantly reduced and limited availability of credit, increased credit risk premiums for certain market participants and increased interest rates generally, increase the cost and reduce the availability of debt and may continue for a prolonged period of time or worsen in the future.

        As of December 31, 2010, LendingTree Loans had two committed lines of credit totaling $150.0 million of borrowing capacity. LendingTree Loans also has a $25.0 million uncommitted line with one of these lenders. Borrowings under these lines of credit are used to fund, and are secured by, consumer residential loans that are held for sale. Loans under these lines of credit are repaid using proceeds from the sales of loans held for sale by LendingTree Loans.

        The $50.0 million first line is scheduled to expire June 29, 2011. This line can be cancelled at the option of the lender without default upon sixty days notice. This first line includes an additional uncommitted credit facility of $25.0 million. This first line is also guaranteed by Tree.com, Inc., LendingTree, LLC and LendingTree Holdings Corp. The interest rate under the first line is 30-day LIBOR or 2.00% (whichever is greater) plus 2.25%. The interest rate under the $25.0 million uncommitted line is 30-day LIBOR plus 1.50%. LendingTree Loans is also required to sell at least 25% of the loans it originates to the lender under this line or pay a "pair-off fee" of 0.25% on the difference between the required and actual volume of loans sold.

        The borrowing capacity of the second line was increased from $75.0 million to $100.0 million upon renewal of the line effective October 29, 2010. The expiration date of this line is October 28, 2011. This second line is also guaranteed by Tree.com, Inc., LendingTree, LLC and LendingTree Holdings Corp. The interest rate under this line was decreased from 30-day Adjusted LIBOR or 2.0% (whichever is greater) plus 2.50% to 3.0% prior to renewal, to 30-day Adjusted LIBOR or 2.0% (whichever is greater) plus 2.25% to 2.5% after renewal, for loans being sold to the lender. Additionally, the interest rate for loans not being sold to the lender was decreased from 30-day Adjusted LIBOR or 2.0% (whichever is greater) plus 2.75% prior to renewal, to 30-day Adjusted LIBOR or 2.0% (whichever is greater) plus 2.25% after renewal.

        Under the terms of these warehouse lines, LendingTree Loans is required to maintain various financial and other covenants. These financial covenants include, but are not limited to, maintaining (i) minimum tangible net worth of $25.0 million, (ii) minimum liquidity, (iii) a minimum current ratio, (iv) a maximum ratio of total liabilities to net worth, (v) a maximum leverage ratio, (vi) pre-tax net income requirements and (vii) a maximum warehouse capacity ratio. During the year ended December 31, 2010, LendingTree Loans was in compliance with the covenants under the lines. We intend to renew both of these warehouse lines.

        Although we believe that our existing lines of credit are adequate for our current operations, further reductions in our available credit, or the inability to renew or replace these lines, could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. LendingTree Loans attempts to mitigate the impact of current conditions and future credit market disruptions by maintaining committed and uncommitted warehouse lines of credit with several financial institutions. However, these financial institutions, like all financial institutions, are subject to the same adverse market conditions and may be affected by recent market disruptions, which may affect the decision to reduce or renew these lines or the pricing for these lines. As a result, current committed warehouse lines of credit may be reduced or not renewed, and alternative financing may be unavailable or inadequate to support operations or the cost of such alternative financing may not allow LendingTree Loans to operate at profitable levels. Because LendingTree Loans is highly dependent on the availability of credit to finance its operations, the continuation of current credit market conditions for a prolonged period of time or the worsening of such conditions could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, particularly over the next few years.

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Adverse Events and Trends—Our financial results fluctuate as a result of seasonality, which may make it difficult to predict our future performance and may affect our common stock price.

        Our business is generally subject to seasonal trends. These trends reflect the general patterns of housing sales, which typically peak in the spring and summer seasons. Additionally, the broader cyclical trends in the mortgage and real estate markets have upset the usual seasonal trends. As a result, our quarterly operating results may fluctuate, which may negatively impact the price of our common stock.

Contingent Liabilities—Litigation and Indemnification of Secondary Market Purchasers—Litigation and indemnification of secondary market purchasers could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and liquidity.

        In connection with the sale of loans to secondary market purchasers, HLC makes certain representations regarding related borrower credit information, loan documentation and collateral. To the extent that these representations are incorrect, HLC may be required to repurchase loans or indemnify secondary market purchasers for losses due to borrower defaults. While HLC seeks to ensure that loans it originates comply with these representations, secondary market purchasers may take a contrary position. In connection with the sale of loans to secondary market purchasers, HLC also agrees to repurchase loans or indemnify secondary market purchasers for losses due to early payment defaults ( i.e.,  late payments during a limited time period immediately following HLC's origination of the loan). In connection with the sale of a majority of its loans to secondary market purchasers, HLC also agrees to repay all or a portion of the initial premiums paid by secondary market purchasers in instances where the borrower prepays the loan within a specified period of time. HLC has made payments for these liabilities in the past and expects to make payments for these in the future.

Third-Party Relationships—We depend on relationships with Network Lenders, real estate professionals, credit providers and secondary market investors and any adverse changes in these relationships could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

        Our success depends, in significant part, on the quality and pricing of services provided by, and/or the continued financial stability of, Network Lenders and real estate professionals participating on our networks, credit providers and secondary market investors. Network Lenders or real estate professionals could, for any reason, cease participating on the networks operated by (or otherwise choose not to enter into relationships with) our businesses, fail to pay matching and/or closing fees when due and/or cease providing quality services on competitive terms. In addition, credit providers and/or secondary market investors could, for any reason, choose not to make credit available to (or otherwise enter into relationships with) HLC, and in the case of secondary market investors only, cease purchasing loans from HLC. In particular, revenues attributable to purchases of loans by three such entities, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, represented approximately 25%, 24% and 11%, respectively, of our consolidated revenues in 2010. The occurrence of one of more of these events with a significant number of Network Lenders, real estate professionals, credit providers and/or secondary market investors could, alone or in combination, have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Third-Party Relationships Are Not Exclusive—Network Lenders and real estate professionals affiliated with our networks are not precluded from offering products and services outside of our networks.

        Because our businesses do not have exclusive relationships with Network Lenders and real estate professionals, consumers may obtain loans and real estate offerings directly from these third-party service providers without having to use our networks. Network Lenders can offer loans (and real estate professionals can offer services) directly to consumers through marketing campaigns or other traditional methods of distribution, such as referral arrangements, brick and mortar operations or, in the case of lending, broker agreements. Network Lenders and real estate professionals can also offer loans and services to prospective customers online directly, through one or more online competitors of our

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businesses, or both. If a significant number of consumers seek loans and services directly from Network Lenders and real estate professionals as opposed to through our networks, our business, financial condition and results of operations would be adversely affected.

Network Security—A breach of our network security or the misappropriation or misuse of personal consumer information may have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

        Any penetration of network security or other misappropriation or misuse of personal consumer information maintained by us could cause interruptions in the operations of our businesses and subject us to increased costs, litigation and other liabilities. Claims could also be made against us for other misuse of personal information, such as for unauthorized purposes or identity theft, which could result in litigation and financial liabilities, as well as administrative action from governmental authorities. Security breaches could also significantly damage our reputation with consumers and third parties with whom we do business. In that regard, on April 21, 2008, we announced that several mortgage companies had gained unauthorized access to LendingTree's customer information database and had used the information to solicit mortgage loans directly from our customers. We promptly reported the situation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and have been cooperating fully with the FBI's investigation. While LendingTree does not believe this situation resulted in any fraud on the consumer or identity theft, LendingTree notified affected consumers as required by applicable law. Notwithstanding the foregoing, following our announcement, several putative class action lawsuits were filed against LendingTree, seeking to recover damages for consumers allegedly injured by this incident. All but one of these lawsuits have been dismissed or withdrawn (see Item 3 below).

        As in the case of any financial services company, we may be required to expend significant capital and other resources to protect against and remedy any potential or existing security breaches and their consequences. We also face risks associated with security breaches affecting third parties with which we are affiliated or otherwise conduct business online. Consumers are generally concerned with security and privacy of the Internet, and any publicized security problems affecting our businesses and/or those of third parties may discourage consumers from doing business with us, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Failure to Provide Competitive Service—Network Lenders and real estate professionals may not provide competitive levels of service to consumers, which could adversely affect our brands and businesses and their ability to attract consumers.

        The ability of our businesses to provide consumers with a high-quality experience depends, in part, on consumers receiving competitive levels of convenience, customer service, price and responsiveness from Network Lenders and real estate professionals with whom they are matched through our networks. If Network Lenders and real estate professionals do not provide consumers with competitive levels of convenience, customer service, price and responsiveness, the value of our various brands may be harmed, the ability of our businesses to attract consumers to our websites may be limited and the number of consumers ultimately matched through our networks may decline, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Brand Recognition—Failure to maintain brand recognition and attract and retain customers in a cost-effective manner could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

        In order to attract visitors to their websites, convert these visitors into paying customers and capture repeat business from existing customers, our businesses must promote and maintain their various brands successfully, which involves the expenditure of considerable money and resources for online and offline advertising, marketing and related efforts, as well as the continued provision and introduction of high-quality products and services.

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        We believe that continuing to build and maintain the recognition of our various brands is critical to achieving increased demand for the services provided by our businesses, given that brand recognition is a key differentiating factor among providers of online services. Accordingly, we have spent, and expect to continue to spend, significant amounts of capital on, and devote significant resources to, branding, advertising and other marketing initiatives, which may not be successful or cost-effective. The failure of our businesses to maintain the recognition of their respective brands and attract and retain customers in a cost-effective manner could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

        Lastly, publicity from legal proceedings against us or our businesses, particularly governmental proceedings, consumer class action litigation or the disclosure of information security breaches, could negatively impact our various brands, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Technology—We depend on search engines and other online sources to attract visitors to our websites, and if we are unable to attract these visitors and convert them into customers in a cost-effective manner, our business and financial results may be harmed.

        Our success depends on our ability to attract online consumers to our websites and convert them into customers in a cost-effective manner. We depend, in part, on search engines and other online sources for our website traffic. We are included in search results as a result of both paid search listings, where we purchase specific search terms that will result in the inclusion of our listing, and algorithmic searches that depend upon the searchable content on our sites. Search engines and other online sources revise their algorithms from time to time in an attempt to optimize their search results.

        If one or more of the search engines or other online sources on which we rely for website traffic were to modify its general methodology for how it displays our websites, resulting in fewer consumers clicking through to our websites, our business, financial condition and results of operations could suffer. If any free search engine on which we rely begins charging fees for listing or placement, or if one or more of the search engines or other online sources on which we rely for purchased listings, modifies or terminates its relationship with us, our expenses could rise, we could lose customers and traffic to our websites could decrease, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Technology—If we are unable to continually enhance our products and services and adapt them to technological changes and customer needs, including the emergence of new computing devices and more sophisticated online services, we may lose market share and revenue and our business could suffer.

        We need to anticipate, develop and introduce new products, services and applications on a timely and cost-effective basis that keeps pace with technological developments and changing customer needs. For example, the number of individuals who access the internet through devices other than a personal computer, such as personal digital assistants, mobile telephones, televisions and set-top box devices, has increased significantly, and this trend is likely to continue. Our websites were designed for rich, graphical environments such as those available on desktop and laptop computers. The lower resolution, functionality and memory associated with alternative devices currently available may make the access and use of our websites through such devices difficult. Because each manufacturer or distributor may establish unique technical standards for its devices, our websites may not be functional or viewable on these devices. Additionally, new devices and new platforms are continually being released. Accordingly, it is difficult to predict the problems we may encounter in improving our websites' functionality with these alternative devices, and we may need to devote significant resources to the improvement, support and maintenance of our websites. If we fail to develop our websites to respond to these or other technological developments and changing customer needs cost effectively, we may lose market share, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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Compliance and Changing Laws, Rules and Regulations—Failure to comply with existing or evolving laws, rules and regulations, or to obtain and maintain required licenses, could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

        The failure of our businesses to comply with existing laws, rules and regulations, or to obtain required licenses, could result in administrative fines and/or proceedings against us or our businesses by governmental agencies and/or litigation by consumers, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Our businesses market and provide services in heavily regulated industries through a number of different online and offline channels across the United States. As a result, our businesses are subject to a variety of statutes, rules, regulations, policies and procedures in various jurisdictions in the United States, which are subject to change at any time.

        Our businesses conduct marketing activities via the telephone, the mail and/or through online marketing channels, which general marketing activities are governed by numerous federal and state regulations, such as the Telemarketing Sales Rule, state telemarketing laws, federal and state privacy laws, the CAN-SPAM Act, and the Federal Trade Commission Act and its accompanying regulations and guidelines, among others. While we believe that the practices of our businesses have been structured in a manner to ensure compliance with these laws and regulations, federal or state regulatory authorities may take a contrary position.

        Additional federal, state and in some instances, local, laws regulate residential lending and real estate brokerage activities in particular. These laws generally regulate the manner in which lending, lending-related and real estate brokerage activities are marketed or made available, including advertising and other consumer disclosures, payments for services and record keeping requirements; these laws include the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA"), the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Truth in Lending Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Housing Act and various state laws. In addition, state laws often restrict the amount of interest and fees that may be charged by a lender or mortgage broker, or otherwise regulate the manner in which lenders or mortgage brokers operate or advertise. Furthermore, Congress, many state legislatures and state agencies are proposing, or have recently implemented, additional restrictions on mortgage lending practices. Compliance with these new requirements may render it more difficult to operate or may raise our internal costs. Failure to comply with applicable laws and regulatory requirements may result in, among other things, revocation of required licenses or registrations, loss of approval status, termination of contracts without compensation, administrative enforcement actions and fines, class action lawsuits, cease and desist orders and civil and criminal liability. While we believe that our businesses have been structured in such a way so as to comply with existing and new laws, the relevant regulatory authorities may take a contrary position or future legislation may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

        Most states require licenses to solicit, broker or make loans secured by residential mortgages and other consumer loans to residents of those states, as well as to operate real estate referral and brokerage services, and in many cases require the licensure or registration of individual employees engaged in aspects of these businesses. In 2008, Congress mandated that all states adopt certain minimum standards for the licensing of individuals involved in mortgage lending or loan brokering, and many state legislatures and state agencies are in the process of adopting or implementing additional licensing, continuing education, and similar requirements on mortgage lenders, brokers and their employees. Compliance with these new requirements may render it more difficult to operate or may raise our internal costs. While our businesses have endeavored to comply with applicable requirements, the application of these requirements to persons operating online is not always clear. Moreover, any of the licenses or rights currently held by our businesses or our employees may be revoked prior to, or may not be renewed upon, their expiration. In addition, our businesses or our employees may not be granted new licenses or rights for which they may be required to apply from time to time in the future.

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        Likewise, states or municipalities may adopt statutes or regulations making it unattractive, impracticable, or infeasible for our businesses to continue to conduct business in that jurisdiction. The withdrawal from any jurisdiction due to emerging legal requirements could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

        Our businesses are also subject to various state, federal and/or local laws, rules and regulations that regulate the amount and nature of fees that may be charged for transactions and incentives, such as rebates, that may be offered to consumers by our businesses, as well as the manner in which these businesses may offer, advertise or promote transactions. For example, RESPA generally prohibits the payment or receipt of referral fees and fee shares or splits in connection with residential mortgage loan transactions, subject to certain exceptions. The applicability of referral fee and fee sharing prohibitions to lenders and real estate providers, including online networks, may have the effect of reducing the types and amounts of fees that may be charged or paid in connection with real estate-secured loan offerings or activities, including mortgage brokerage, lending and real estate brokerage services, or otherwise limiting the ability to conduct marketing and referral activities. Although we believe that our businesses have been structured in such a way so as to comply with RESPA, the relevant regulatory agency may take a contrary position.

        Our Real Estate business is subject to rules and regulations of various real estate boards, as well as the rules of various non-governmental associations and organizations, including but, not limited to, local and regional Multiple Listing Services that provide real estate listing data. Our Real Estate business is dependent on real estate listing data made available through Multiple Listing Services and other sources. While we believe that our Real Estate business is structured to comply with these rules and regulations, the relevant organization may take a contrary position, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

        In addition, some states have regulations that prohibit real estate brokers from providing consumers with rebates or other incentives in connection with real estate transactions. Additional states could promulgate similar regulations or interpret existing regulations in a way that limits the ability of online networks to offer consumer incentives in connection with real estate transactions, thereby limiting the attractiveness of real estate brokerage activities offered by our Real Estate business.

        Federal, state and in some instances, local, laws also prohibit unfair and deceptive sales practices generally. While we have adopted appropriate policies and procedures to address these requirements (such as appropriate consumer disclosures and call scripting, call monitoring, and other quality assurance and compliance measures), employees do not always comply with policies and procedures, and therefore, liability and brand injury could result from such employee misconduct.

        As employers, our businesses are subject to federal and state employment laws. In particular, the Fair Labor Standards Act and California wage and hour laws govern the treatment of "non-exempt" employees, which may include loan officers, underwriters, and loan processors at Home Loan Center, Inc. Failure to comply with applicable employment laws may result in, among other things, administrative fines, class action lawsuits, damages awards and injunctions, any of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

        Parties through which our businesses conduct business similarly may be subject to federal and state regulation. These parties typically act as independent contractors and not as agents in their solicitations and transactions with consumers. Consequently, we cannot ensure that these entities will comply with applicable laws and regulations at all times. Failure on the part of a lender, secondary market purchaser, real estate professional, website operator or other third party to comply with these laws or regulations could result in, among other things, claims of vicarious liability or a negative impact on the reputation of Tree.com and its businesses. The occurrence of one or more of these events could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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Compliance and Changing Laws, Rules and Regulations—Passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and related legislative or executive actions may have a significant impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

        In July 2010, the President signed into law the Dodd-Frank Act, which contains a comprehensive set of provisions designed to govern the practices and oversight of financial institutions and other participants in the financial markets. The Dodd-Frank Act requires various federal agencies to adopt a broad range of new rules and regulations, and to prepare numerous studies and reports for Congress, which could result in additional legislative or regulatory action. The federal agencies are given significant discretion in drafting the rules and regulations, and consequently, many of the details and much of the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act may not be known for many months or years.

        The Dodd-Frank Act, as well as other legislative and regulatory changes, could have a significant impact on us by, for example, requiring us to change our business practices, limiting our ability to pursue business opportunities, imposing additional costs on us, limiting fees we can charge, impacting the value of our assets, or otherwise adversely affecting our businesses. Among other things, the Dodd-Frank Act established the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection to regulate consumer financial services and products, including credit, savings and payment products. The effect of the Dodd-Frank Act on our business and operations could be significant, depending upon final implementing regulations, the actions of our competitors and the behavior of other marketplace participants. In addition, we may be required to invest significant management time and resources to address the various provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act and the numerous regulations that are required to be issued under it.

        In light of recent conditions in the U.S. financial markets and economy, as well as a heightened regulatory and Congressional focus on consumer lending, regulators have increased their scrutiny of the financial services industry, the result of which has included new regulations and guidance. We are unable to predict the long-term impact of this enhanced scrutiny. We are also unable to predict whether any additional or similar changes to statutes or regulations, including the interpretation or implementation thereof, will occur in the future.

        The Dodd-Frank Act also requires publicly traded companies to give stockholders a non-binding vote on executive compensation and so-called "golden parachute" payments, and authorizes the SEC to promulgate rules that would allow stockholders to nominate their own candidates using a company's proxy materials. However, if the Dodd-Frank Act and the implementing rules and regulations cause a material increase in our compliance and operating costs or materially inhibit our operations, they may have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Third Party Compliance—If Network Lenders fail to produce required documents for examination by, or other affiliated parties fail to make certain filings with, state regulators, Tree.com may be subject to fines, forfeitures and the revocation of required licenses.

        Some of the states in which our businesses maintain licenses require them to collect various loan documents from Network Lenders and produce these documents for examination by state regulators. While Network Lenders are contractually obligated to provide these documents upon request, these measures may be insufficient. Failure to produce required documents for examination could result in fines, as well as the revocation of our businesses' licenses to operate in key states, which could have a material adverse affect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

        Regulations promulgated by some states may impose compliance obligations on directors, executive officers, large customers and any person who acquires a certain percentage (for example, 10% or more) of our common stock, including requiring such persons to periodically file financial and other personal and business information with state regulators. If any such person refuses or fails to comply with these requirements, our businesses may be unable to obtain a license, and existing licensing arrangements may be jeopardized. The inability to obtain, or the loss of, required licenses could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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Maintenance of Systems and Infrastructure—Our success depends, in part, on the integrity of our systems and infrastructures. System interruption and the lack of integration and redundancy in these systems and infrastructures may have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

        Our success depends, in part, on our ability to maintain the integrity of our systems and infrastructures, including websites, information and related systems, call centers and distribution and fulfillment facilities. System interruption and the lack of integration and redundancy in our information systems and infrastructures may adversely affect our ability to operate websites, process and fulfill transactions, respond to customer inquiries and generally maintain cost-efficient operations. We may experience occasional system interruptions that make some or all systems or data unavailable or prevent our businesses from efficiently providing services or fulfilling orders. We also rely on affiliate and third-party computer systems, broadband and other communications systems and service providers in connection with the provision of services generally, as well as to facilitate, process and fulfill transactions. Any interruptions, outages or delays in our systems and infrastructures, our businesses, our affiliates and/or third parties, or deterioration in the performance of these systems and infrastructures, could impair the ability of our businesses to provide services, fulfill orders and/or process transactions. Fire, flood, power loss, telecommunications failure, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, acts of war or terrorism, acts of God, unauthorized intrusions or computer viruses, and similar events or disruptions may damage or interrupt computer, broadband or other communications systems and infrastructures at any time. Any of these events could cause system interruption, delays and loss of critical data, and could prevent our businesses from providing services, fulfilling orders and/or processing transactions. While our businesses have backup systems for certain aspects of their operations, these systems are not fully redundant and disaster recovery planning is not sufficient for all eventualities. In addition, we may not have adequate insurance coverage to compensate for losses from a major interruption. If any of these adverse events were to occur, it could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

        In addition, any penetration of network security or other misappropriation or misuse of personal consumer information could cause interruptions in the operations of our businesses and subject us to increased costs, litigation and other liabilities. Claims could also be made against us for other misuse of personal information, such as for unauthorized purposes or identity theft, which could result in litigation and financial liabilities, as well as administrative action from governmental authorities. Security breaches could also significantly damage our reputation with consumers and third parties with whom we do business. It is possible that advances in computer capabilities, new discoveries, undetected fraud, inadvertent violations of company policies or procedures or other developments could result in a compromise of information or a breach of the technology and security processes that are used to protect consumer transaction data. As a result, current security measures may not prevent any or all security breaches. We may be required to expend significant capital and other resources to protect against and remedy any potential or existing security breaches and their consequences. We also face risks associated with security breaches affecting third parties with which we are affiliated or otherwise conduct business online. Any publicized security problems affecting our businesses and/or those of third parties may discourage consumers from doing business with us, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Internal Controls—We have identified a material weakness in our disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting, and we may be unable to develop, implement and maintain appropriate controls in future periods.

        We have identified a material weakness in our disclosure controls and procedures and our internal controls over financial reporting relating to ineffective controls over the application and monitoring of accounting for income taxes. Specifically, we did not have controls designed and in place to ensure effective oversight of the work performed by, and the accuracy of, financial information provided by third party tax advisors. Until remediated, this material weakness could result in a misstatement in tax-related accounts that could result in a material misstatement to our interim or annual consolidated financial statements and disclosures that may not be prevented or detected.

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        We are currently in the process of addressing and remediating the deficiencies that gave rise to this material weakness. Since the material weakness was identified, we have undertaken an evaluation of our available resources to provide effective oversight of the work performed by our third party tax advisors and are in the process of identifying necessary changes to our processes as required. Additionally, we are evaluating the resources available and provided to us by the third party tax advisors and identifying changes as required.

        We note that a system of procedures and controls, no matter how well conceived and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the objectives of the control system are met. Because of the inherent limitations in all systems of procedures and controls, no evaluation can provide absolute assurance that all control issues have been detected. These inherent limitations include the realities that judgments in decision-making can be faulty, and breakdowns can occur because of simple error or mistake. The design of any system of procedures and controls also is based in part upon certain assumptions about the likelihood of future events, and there can be no assurance that any design will succeed in achieving its stated goals under all potential future conditions. Over time, our systems of procedures and controls, as we further develop and enhance them, may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate. Because of the inherent limitations in a cost-effective system of procedures and controls, misstatements due to error or fraud may occur and not be detected and could be material and require a restatement of our financial statements.

        If we are unable to maintain appropriate internal controls, we may not have adequate, accurate or timely financial information, we may experience material post-closing adjustments in future financial statements, and we may be unable to meet our reporting obligations or comply with the requirements of the SEC or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which could result in the imposition of sanctions, including the inability of registered broker dealers to make a market in our common shares, or investigation by regulatory authorities. Any such action or other negative results caused by our inability to meet our reporting requirements or comply with legal and regulatory requirements or by disclosure of an accounting, reporting or control issue could adversely affect the trading price of our securities. We cannot provide assurance that our remediation measures will be completed or become effective by any given date.

        Further and continued determinations that there are significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in the effectiveness of our internal controls could also reduce our ability to obtain financing or could increase the cost of any financing we obtain and require additional expenditures to comply with applicable requirements.

Privacy—The processing, storage, use and disclosure of personal data could give rise to liabilities as a result of governmental regulation, conflicting legal requirements or differing views of personal privacy rights.

        In the processing of consumer transactions, our businesses receive, transmit and store a large volume of personally identifiable information and other user data. The sharing, use, disclosure and protection of this information are governed by the privacy and data security policies maintained by us and our businesses. Moreover, there are federal, state and international laws regarding privacy and the storing, sharing, use, disclosure and protection of personally identifiable information and user data. Specifically, personally identifiable information is increasingly subject to legislation and regulations in numerous jurisdictions around the world, the intent of which is to protect the privacy of personal information that is collected, processed and transmitted in or from the governing jurisdiction. We could be adversely affected if legislation or regulations are expanded to require changes in business practices or privacy policies, or if governing jurisdictions interpret or implement their legislation or regulations in ways that negatively affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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        Our businesses may also become exposed to potential liabilities as a result of differing views on the privacy of consumer and other user data collected by these businesses. Our failure, and/or the failure by the various third party vendors and service providers with which we do business, to comply with applicable privacy policies or federal, state or similar international laws and regulations or any compromise of security that results in the unauthorized release of personally identifiable information or other user data could damage the reputation of these businesses, discourage potential users from our products and services and/or result in fines and/or proceedings by governmental agencies and/or consumers, one or all of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Intellectual Property—We may fail to adequately protect our intellectual property rights or may be accused of infringing intellectual property rights of third parties.

        We may fail to adequately protect our intellectual property rights or may be accused of infringing intellectual property rights of third parties. We regard our intellectual property rights, including patents, service marks, trademarks and domain names, copyrights, trade secrets and similar intellectual property (as applicable), as critical to our success. Our businesses also rely heavily upon software codes, informational databases and other components that make up their products and services.

        We rely on a combination of laws and contractual restrictions with employees, customers, suppliers, affiliates and others to establish and protect these proprietary rights. Despite these precautions, it may be possible for a third party to copy or otherwise obtain and use trade secrets or copyrighted intellectual property without authorization which, if discovered, might require legal action to correct. In addition, third parties may independently and lawfully develop substantially similar intellectual properties.

        We have generally registered and continue to apply to register, or secure by contract when appropriate, our principal trademarks and service marks as they are developed and used, and reserve and register domain names when and where we deem appropriate. We generally consider the protection of our trademarks to be important for purposes of brand maintenance and reputation. While we vigorously protect our trademarks, service marks and domain names, effective trademark protection may not be available or may not be sought in every country in which products and services are made available, and contractual disputes may affect the use of marks governed by private contract. Similarly, not every variation of a domain name may be available or be registered, even if available. Our failure to protect our intellectual property rights in a meaningful manner or challenges to related contractual rights could result in erosion of brand names and limit our ability to control marketing on or through the Internet using our various domain names or otherwise, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

        Some of our businesses have been granted patents and/or have patent applications pending with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and/or various foreign patent authorities for various proprietary technologies and other inventions. We consider applying for patents or for other appropriate statutory protection when we develop valuable new or improved proprietary technologies or inventions are identified, and will continue to consider the appropriateness of filing for patents to protect future proprietary technologies and inventions as circumstances may warrant. The status of any patent involves complex legal and factual questions, and the breadth of claims allowed is uncertain. Accordingly, any patent application filed may not result in a patent being issued or existing or future patents may not be adjudicated valid by a court or be afforded adequate protection against competitors with similar technology. In addition, third parties may create new products or methods that achieve similar results without infringing upon patents that we own. Likewise, the issuance of a patent to us does not mean that our processes or inventions will be found not to infringe upon patents or other rights previously issued to third parties.

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        From time to time, in the ordinary course of business we are subjected to legal proceedings and claims, or threatened legal proceedings or claims, including allegations of infringement of the trademarks, copyrights, patents and other intellectual property rights of third parties. In addition, litigation may be necessary in the future to enforce our intellectual property rights, protect trade secrets or to determine the validity and scope of proprietary rights claimed by others. Any litigation of this nature, regardless of outcome or merit, could result in substantial costs and diversion of management and technical resources, any of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Patent litigation tends to be particularly protracted and expensive, as evidenced by the patent litigation settlements the Company announced in the first quarter of 2010.

Risk Management—Our framework for managing risks may not be effective in mitigating our risk of loss.

        Our risk management framework seeks to mitigate risk and appropriately balance risk and return. We have established processes and procedures intended to identify, measure, monitor and report the types of risk to which we are subject, including credit risk, market risk, liquidity risk, operational risk, legal and compliance risk, and strategic risk. We seek to monitor and control our risk exposure through a framework of policies, procedures and reporting requirements. Management of our risks in some cases depends upon the use of analytical and/or forecasting models. If the models that we use to mitigate these risks are inadequate, we may incur increased losses. In addition, there may be risks that exist, or that develop in the future, that we have not appropriately anticipated, identified or mitigated. If our risk management framework does not effectively identify or mitigate our risks, we could suffer unexpected losses and could be materially adversely affected.

Acquisitions and Investments—Acquisitions or strategic investments that we pursue may not be successful and could disrupt our business and harm our financial condition.

        We may consider or undertake strategic acquisitions of, or material investments in, businesses, products, portfolios of loans or technologies, such as our recent agreement to acquire certain assets of SurePoint Lending. We may not be able to identify suitable acquisition or investment candidates, or even if we do identify suitable candidates, they may be difficult to finance, expensive to fund and there is no guarantee that we can obtain any necessary regulatory approvals or complete the transactions on terms that are favorable to us. To the extent we pay the purchase price of any acquisition or investment in cash, it would reduce our cash balances and regulatory capital, which may have an adverse effect on our financial condition; similarly, if the purchase price is paid with our stock, it would be dilutive to our stockholders. In addition, we may assume liabilities associated with a business acquisition or investment, including unrecorded liabilities that are not discovered at the time of the transaction, and the repayment of those liabilities may have an adverse effect on our financial condition.

        We may not be able to successfully integrate the personnel, operations, businesses, products, or technologies of an acquisition or investment. Integration may be particularly challenging if we enter into a line of business in which we have limited experience and the business operates in a difficult legal, regulatory or competitive environment. We may find that we do not have adequate operations or expertise to manage the new business. The integration of any acquisition or investment may divert management's time and resources from our core business, which could impair our relationships with our current employees, customers and strategic partners and disrupt our operations. Acquisitions and investments also may not perform to our expectations for various reasons, including the loss of key personnel or customers. If we fail to integrate acquisitions or investments or realize the expected benefits, we may lose the return on these acquisitions or investments or incur additional transaction costs and our business and financial condition may be harmed as a result.

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The market price and trading volume of our common stock may be volatile and may face negative pressure.

        The market price for our common stock has been volatile since our spin-off. This volatility has likely been exacerbated by recent market instability. The market price for our common stock could continue to fluctuate significantly for many reasons, including the risks identified herein or reasons unrelated to our performance. These factors may result in short or long-term negative pressure on the value of our common stock.

If we fail to meet the listing requirements of the NASDAQ Stock Market and do not take corrective action as the NASDAQ Listing Qualifications Department may require, trading in our securities may be halted and we may be delisted from the NASDAQ Global Market.

        As an issuer listed on the NASDAQ Global Market, we must comply with the Marketplace Rules of the NASDAQ Stock Market in order to maintain that listing. NASDAQ-listed companies that do not maintain compliance with these rules may have trading in their stock halted and, if they do not regain compliance as required by the NASDAQ Listing Qualifications Department, may be delisted.

        On November 1, 2010, we notified the Listings Qualifications Department of the NASDAQ Stock Market of Steven Ozonian's resignation from the Company's Board of Directors, effective November 1, 2010, and the resulting non-compliance with NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 5605 ("Rule 5605"), which requires that a majority of the Company's Board of Directors be comprised of independent members. On November 3, 2010, we received notice from NASDAQ advising that, as a result of Mr. Ozonian's resignation from the Board of Directors, we were not in compliance with Rule 5605 and confirming that we were provided a cure period until the earlier of the Company's next annual meeting of stockholders or October 31, 2011 to regain compliance.

        The Company is reviewing alternative methods to regain compliance. The Company anticipates that it will regain compliance with Rule 5605 no later than June 8, 2011, the date of our 2011 annual meeting of stockholders. A failure to regain compliance could result in the Company being delisted from the NASDAQ Stock Market. The delisting of our common stock would significantly affect the ability of investors to trade our securities and would negatively affect the value and liquidity of our common stock. In addition, the delisting of our common stock could materially affect our ability to raise capital on terms acceptable to us or at all and could also have other negative results, including the potential loss of confidence by customers and employees, the loss of institutional investor interest and fewer business development opportunities.

Item 1B.     Unresolved Staff Comments

        Not applicable.

Item 2.     Properties

        Tree.com's principal executive offices, together with certain personnel and operations of its Exchanges and Real Estate businesses, are currently located in approximately 38,000 square feet of office space in Charlotte, North Carolina and approximately 3,000 square feet of office space in Pasadena, California, under leases that expire through 2015. The operations of LendingTree Loans are currently located in approximately 95,000 square feet of office space in Irvine, California under a lease expiring in 2015. In addition, Real Estate has 20 offices located throughout the United States under leases that expire through 2014.

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Item 3.     Legal Proceedings

        In the ordinary course of business, the Company and its subsidiaries are parties to litigation involving property, contract, intellectual property and a variety of other claims. The amounts that may be recovered in such matters may be subject to insurance coverage.

        Rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission require the description of material pending legal proceedings, other than ordinary, routine litigation incident to the registrant's business, and advise that proceedings ordinarily need not be described if they primarily involve damages claims for amounts (exclusive of interest and costs) not exceeding 10% of the current assets of the registrant and its subsidiaries on a consolidated basis. In the judgment of management, none of the pending litigation matters which the Company and its subsidiaries are defending, including those described below, involves or is likely to involve amounts of that magnitude. The litigation matters described below involve issues or claims that may be of particular interest to the Company's shareholders, regardless of whether any of these matters may be material to the financial position or operations of the Company based upon the standard set forth in the SEC's rules.

Privacy/Information Security Litigation

         Constance Spinozzi v. LendingTree, LLC, No. 3:08-cv-229 (U.S. Dist. Ct., W.D.N.C.); Sylvia Carson v. LendingTree, LLC, No. 3:08-cv-247 (U.S. Dist. Ct., W.D.N.C.); Mitchell v. Home Loan Center, Inc., No. 08-303-RJC (U.S. Dist. Ct., W.D. N.C.); Miller v. LendingTree, LLC, No. 08cv2300 (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Ill.); Marvin Garcia v. LendingTree, LLC, No. 08 Civ. 4551 (U.S. Dist. Ct., S.D.N.Y.); Amy Bercaw v. LendingTree, LLC, No. SACV08-660 (U.S. Dist. Ct., C.D. Cal.); Shaver v. LendingTree, LLC, et al., SACV08-755 (U.S. Dist. Ct. C.D. Cal.); and Bradley v. LendingTree, LLC, et al., SACV08-755 (U.S. Dist. Ct. C.D. Cal.). The foregoing putative class actions arise out of LendingTree's April 21, 2008 announcement that unauthorized persons had gained access to non-public information relating to its customers. Plaintiffs allege that LendingTree is a "consumer reporting agency" within the meaning of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") and has violated FCRA by failing to maintain reasonable procedures designed to limit the furnishing of consumer reports. Plaintiffs also assert claims for negligence, breach of implied contract, invasion of privacy and misappropriation of confidential information. Plaintiffs purport to represent all LendingTree customers affected by the information security breach, and seek damages, attorneys' fees and injunctive relief. The cases were transferred for consistent pre-trial treatment into In re LendingTree, LLC Customer Data Security Breach Litigation in the Western District of NC Charlotte Division, and the court ordered each case to individual arbitration. The Carson case was arbitrated on an individual (non-class) basis and a decision was issued in favor of LendingTree in April 2010. Following this decision, certain of the Plaintiffs in the Bercaw case withdrew their filings. Each of the other cases was dismissed on July 8, 2010. Plaintiff in the Carson case filed an appeal on January 13, 2011.

South Carolina Mortgage Broker Litigation

         Adams v. LendingTree, No. 2008-CP-04-03021 (S.C. Common Pleas, 10th Judicial Cir. filed Sept. 9, 2008), No. 8:08-cv-03496-HFF (removed Oct. 15, 2008); Ariail v. LendingTree , No. 2008-CP-23-5834 (S.C. Common Pleas, 13th Judicial Cir. filed Aug. 1, 2008), No. 6:08-cv-03044-HFF (removed Sept. 3, 2008); Brackett v. LendingTree, No. 2008-CP-46-3450 (S.C. Common Pleas, 16th Judicial Cir. filed Sept. 4, 2008), No. 0:08-cv-03504-HFF (removed Oct. 15, 2008); Clements v. LendingTree, No. 2008-CP-21-1730 (S.C. Common Pleas, 12th Judicial Cir. filed Sept. 4, 2008), No. 4:08-cv-03508-HFF (removed Oct. 15, 2008); Gowdy v. LendingTree, No. 2008-CP-42-4666 (S.C. Common Pleas, 7th Judicial Cir. filed Sept. 4, 2008), No. 7:08-cv-03495-HFF (removed Oct. 15, 2008); Hembree v. LendingTree, No. 2008-CP-26-7100 (S.C. Common Pleas, 15th Judicial Cir. filed Sept. 8, 2008), No. 4:08-cv-03499-HFF (removed Oct. 15, 2008); Hodge v. LendingTree, No. 2008-CP-13-356 (S.C. Common Pleas, 4th Judicial Cir. filed Sept. 4, 2008), No. 4:08-cv-03507-HFF (removed Oct. 15, 2008); Morgan v. LendingTree, No. 2008-CP-02-1529

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(S.C. Common Pleas, 2nd Judicial Cir. filed Sept. 8, 2008), No. 1:08-cv-03503-HFF (removed Oct. 15, 2008); Stone v. LendingTree, No. 2008-CP-07-03458 (S.C. Common Pleas, 14th Judicial Cir. filed Sept. 8, 2008), No. 9:08-cv-03505-HFF (removed Oct. 15, 2008); Wilson v. LendingTree, No. 2008-CP-10-5451 (S.C. Common Pleas, 9th Judicial Cir. filed Sept. 24, 2008), No. 2:08-cv-03677-HFF (removed Oct. 20, 2008); Giese v. LendingTree , No. 2008-CP-40-6714 (S.C. Common Pleas, 5th Judicial Cir. filed Sept. 17, 2008); Myers v. LendingTree , No. 2008-CP-32-03841 (S.C. Common Pleas, 11th Judicial Cir. filed Sept. 17, 2008); Pascoe v. LendingTree , No. 2008-CP-09-00136 (S.C. Common Pleas, 1st Judicial Cir. filed Sept. 18, 2008); Jackson v. LendingTree, No 2009-CP-43-1240 (S.C. Court of Common Pleas, 3 rd  Judicial Cir., filed June 1, 2009); Barfield v. LendingTree , No. 2009-CP-29-780 (S.C. Court of Common Pleas, 6th Judicial Cir., filed June 1, 2009); Peace v. LendingTree , No. 2009-CP-24-00801 (S.C. Court of Common Pleas, 8th Judicial Cir., filed June 1, 2009). These sixteen lawsuits were filed between August 1, 2008 and June 1, 2009 by the State of South Carolina, through its various circuit solicitors, against LendingTree. These lawsuits allege that LendingTree failed to provide certain disclosures required by the South Carolina Registration of Mortgage Loan Brokers Act. The complaints seek an award of statutory penalties, forfeiture of all fees paid and recovery of actual costs, including attorneys' fees on behalf of the State.

        On January 6, 2009, the Supreme Court of South Carolina assigned exclusive jurisdiction over these cases and any similar cases that might be subsequently filed in or remanded to the state court system to a single circuit judge to promote the effective and expeditious disposition of the litigation. The judge will supervise and coordinate discovery and dispose of all pretrial motions and other pretrial matters including, where appropriate, motions for summary judgment, but not for trial. The matters remain pending in state court and no trial date has been set.

Wisconsin Mortgage Broker Litigation

         Lavette Love v. LendingTree, et al., No. 09cv009598 (Milwaukee County Circuit Court, Milwaukee, WI). This putative class action was filed June 24, 2009 by Plaintiff, individually and on behalf of all similarly-situated Wisconsin residents, against LendingTree and HLC. The complaint alleged that LendingTree failed to provide certain disclosures required by the Wisconsin Mortgage Broker Act. The complaint requested an award of statutory penalties, forfeiture of all fees paid and recovery of actual costs, including attorneys' fees. To avoid the uncertainties of litigation and avoid further expense, the parties reached a tentative settlement agreement in December 2010 which was filed with the court in January 2011; we are waiting for such agreement to be approved by the court. The Company does not admit any liability as part of such settlement. As part of the settlement, the Company agreed to a conditional certification of this case as a class action. The Company also agreed to pay $0.2 million total to class members who make claims in this litigation which would be divided pro rata among each of the claimants. The Company also agreed not to contest an incentive award application in the amount of $5,000 for named plaintiff and proposed class representative Lavette Love, and not to contest a petition for attorneys' fees, costs and expenses filed by Plaintiff's counsel, so long as this petition does not exceed $0.3 million.

Intellectual Property Litigation

        LendingTree v. Zillow, Inc., et al. Civil Action No. 3:10-cv-439.     On September 8, 2010, the Company filed an action for patent infringement in the US District Court for the Western District of NC against Zillow, Inc., Nextag, Inc., Quinstreet, Inc., Quinstreet Media, Inc., and Adchemy, Inc. The complaint was amended to include Leadpoint, Inc. d/b/a Securerights on September 24, 2010. The Company alleges that each of the defendants infringe one or both of the Company's patents—U.S. Patent No. 6,385,594, entitled "Method and Computer Network for Co-Ordinating a Loan over the Internet," and U.S. Patent No. 6,611,816, entitled "Method and Computer Network for Co-Ordinating a Loan

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over the Internet." Collectively, the asserted patents cover computer hardware and software used in facilitating business between computer users and multiple lenders on the Internet.

Other Litigation

        Boschma v. Home Loan Center, Inc., No. SACV07-613 (U.S. Dist. Ct., C.D. Cal.).     On May 25, 2007, Plaintiffs filed this putative class action against HLC in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Plaintiffs allege that HLC sold them an option "ARM" (adjustable-rate mortgage) loan but failed to disclose in a clear and conspicuous manner, among other things, that the interest rate was not fixed, that negative amortization could occur and that the loan had a prepayment penalty. Based upon these factual allegations, Plaintiffs assert violations of the federal Truth in Lending Act (the "TILA"), violations of the California Unfair Competition Law ("UCL"), breach of contract, and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Plaintiffs purport to represent a class of all individuals who between June 1, 2003 and May 31, 2007 obtained through HLC an option ARM loan on their primary residence located in California, and seek rescission, damages, attorneys' fees and injunctive relief. Plaintiffs have not yet filed a motion for class certification. Plaintiffs have filed a total of eight complaints in connection with this lawsuit. Each of the first seven complaints has been dismissed by the federal and state courts. Plaintiffs filed the eighth complaint (a Second Amended Complaint) in Orange County (California) Superior Court on March 4, 2010 alleging only the fraud and UCL claims. As with each of the seven previous versions of Plaintiffs' complaint, the Second Amended Complaint was dismissed in April 2010. Plaintiffs appealed and filed their opening brief in November 2010. Company's responsive appellate brief was filed in February 2011.

        Gaines v. Home Loan Center, Inc., No. SACV08-667 (U.S. Dist. Ct., C.D. Cal.).     On June 13, 2008, Plaintiffs filed this putative class action against HLC and LendingTree in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Plaintiffs allege, in essence, that (1) HLC failed to disclose that the bundled amount for certain loan closing services (called the "TrueCost") that HLC charged to Plaintiffs was greater than HLC's actual costs for those services; (2) HLC's option ARM note failed to tell Plaintiffs that the stated interest rate and payment amounts would change after the first month and that the payment amount stated in the note was not sufficient to pay interest charges, resulting in negative amortization; and (3) HLC misrepresented that Plaintiffs would have to obtain a home equity line of credit in order to obtain a low interest rate on their option ARM loans. Based upon these factual allegations, Plaintiffs assert violations of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), the TILA, the California UCL, California Business and Professions Code § 17500, the CLRA, breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment, conversion, and money had and received.

        Plaintiffs purport to represent all HLC customers who, since December 14, 2004 (1) were charged by HLC and paid an amount that exceeded HLC's actual costs for those services; and/or (2) entered into option ARM loan agreements with HLC; and/or (3) were misled into taking out a home equity line of credit along with their option ARM mortgage. Plaintiffs seek restitution, disgorgement, damages, attorneys' fees and injunctive relief.

        A RICO claim, certain claims alleging problems involving home equity lines of credit and all contract-based claims were dismissed with prejudice in May, 2010. This lawsuit is scheduled for trial in April, 2011.

        Schnee v. LendingTree, LLC and Home Loan Center, Inc., No. 06CC00211 (Cal. Super. Ct., Orange Cty.).     On October 11, 2006, four individual plaintiffs filed this putative class action against LendingTree and HLC in the California Superior Court for Orange County. Plaintiffs allege that they used the LendingTree.com website to find potential lenders and without their knowledge were referred to LendingTree's direct lender, HLC; that Lending Tree, LLC and HLC did not adequately disclose the relationship between them; and that HLC charged Plaintiffs higher rates and fees than they otherwise

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would have been charged. Based upon these allegations, Plaintiffs assert that LendingTree and HLC violated the California UCL, California Business and Professions Code § 17500, and the CLRA. Plaintiffs purport to represent a nationwide class of consumers who sought lender referrals from LendingTree and obtained loans from HLC since December 1, 2004. Plaintiffs seek damages, restitution, attorneys' fees and injunctive relief.

        On September 25, 2009, Plaintiffs' motion for class certification was denied in its entirety, which action has been appealed by Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs filed their opening brief in May 2010. HLC filed its reply brief in November 2010. No trial date has been set.

        Mortgage Store, Inc. v. LendingTree Loans d/b/a Home Loan Center, Inc., No. 06CC00250 (Cal. Super. Ct., Orange Cty.).     On November 30, 2006, The Mortgage Store, Inc. and Castleview Home Loans, Inc. filed this putative class action against HLC in the California Superior Court for Orange County. Plaintiffs, two former Network Lenders, allege that HLC interfered with LendingTree's contracts with Network Lenders by taking referrals from LendingTree. The complaint is largely based upon the factual allegations made in the Schnee complaint (described above). Based upon these factual allegations, Plaintiffs assert claims for intentional interference with contractual relations, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, and violation of the UCL and California Business and Professions Code § 17500. Plaintiffs purport to represent all Network Lenders from December 14, 2004 to date, and seek damages, restitution, attorneys' fees, and punitive damages.

        Plaintiffs have filed a motion for class certification. This matter is currently scheduled for trial in July, 2011.

        Arizona Attorney General Civil Investigation Demand.     On March 30, 2010, HLC received a civil investigative demand from the state of Arizona. HLC agreed to a voluntary compromise of disputed claims made by the Arizona Attorney General concerning alleged violations of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act pertaining to marketing of payment option ARM loans made to Arizona consumers from 2005 to 2007. The Arizona Attorney General alleged HLC misrepresented the true nature of monthly payment and mortgage structure for pay option ARMs and did not properly disclose the risks of these products. Arizona uses a "least sophisticated consumer" standard to determine if marketing materials might tend to deceive a consumer. On October 29, 2010, HLC entered into a settlement agreement to settle the matter, without admitting wrongdoing, for $1.2 million plus attorneys' fees and costs.

        Banxcorp v. LendingTree, LLC, No. 2:10-cv-02467-SDW-MCA (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.J.).     On May 14, 2010, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit against LendingTree, LLC alleging that LendingTree, LLC engaged in antitrust violations, including per se horizontal price fixing. Plaintiff filed a similar case against Bankrate, Inc., in July 2007, alleging, among other things, an antitrust conspiracy between Bankrate and LendingTree. Plaintiff subsequently amended the complaint in June 2010 to add several media entities as defendants and alleged federal and state antitrust violations. All defendants filed motions to dismiss, and in early February 2011, the motions were granted as to the media defendants but denied as to LendingTree, LLC. The case will now proceed to the discovery phase. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and statutory damages.

Item 4.     Removed and Reserved

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PART II

Item 5.     Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Market for Registrant's Common Equity and Related Stockholder Matters

        Tree.com common stock is quoted on the NASDAQ Global Market under the ticker symbol "TREE." The table below sets forth, for the calendar periods indicated, the high and low sales prices per share for Tree.com common stock on the NASDAQ Global Market.

 
  High   Low  

Year Ended December 31, 2010

             

Fourth Quarter

  $ 9.45   $ 6.51  

Third Quarter

    7.44     6.17  

Second Quarter

    9.27     6.32  

First Quarter

    9.22     7.26  

 

 
  High   Low  

Year Ended December 31, 2009

             

Fourth Quarter

  $ 9.39   $ 6.34  

Third Quarter

    10.83     6.79  

Second Quarter

    12.89     4.87  

First Quarter

    5.00     3.23  

        The Company has never declared or paid any cash dividends on its common stock. The Company does not intend to declare or pay any cash dividends on its common stock in the foreseeable future. The declaration, payment and amount of future cash dividends, if any, will be at the discretion of the board of directors.

        As of February 23, 2011, there were approximately 1,176 holders of record of the Company's common stock and the closing price of the common stock was $7.20.

        During the year ended December 31, 2010, the Company did not issue or sell any shares of its common stock or other equity securities in transactions that were not registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended except as disclosed in the Company's Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on September 1, 2010.

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Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

        The following table provides information about the Company's purchases of equity securities during the quarter ended December 31, 2010.

Period
  Total
Number of
Shares
Purchased(1)
  Average
Price Paid
per Share
  Total Number of
Shares Purchased as
Part of Publicly
Announced Plans or
Programs(2),(3)
  Maximum
Number/Approximate
Dollar Value of Shares
that May Yet be
Purchased Under the
Plans or Programs
 
 
   
   
   
  (in thousands)
 

10/01/10 – 10/31/10

    133,087   $ 7.20     132,990   $ 4,349  

11/01/10 – 11/30/10

    7,907     7.49     7,907     19,274  

12/01/10 – 12/31/10

    312,615     7.75     312,339     4,274  
                       

Total

    453,609   $ 7.58     453,256   $ 4,274  
                       

(1)
During the quarter ended December 31, 2010, 373 shares of the Company's common stock were delivered by employees to satisfy federal and state withholding obligations upon the vesting of restricted stock awards granted to those individuals under the Tree.com 2008 Stock and Award Incentive Plan. The withholding of those shares does not affect the dollar amount or number of shares that may be purchased under the publicly announced plans or programs described below.

(2)
On January 11, 2010, the Company announced that its Board of Directors approved a stock repurchase program for an amount up to $10 million. The program authorizes repurchases of common shares in the open market or through privately-negotiated transactions. The Company began this program in February 2010 and expects to use available cash to finance these repurchases. It will determine the timing and amount of such repurchases based on its evaluation of market conditions, applicable SEC guidelines and regulations, and other factors. This program may be suspended or discontinued at any time at the discretion of the Board of Directors.

(3)
On November 18, 2010, the Company announced it had commenced a modified "Dutch auction" tender offer to repurchase up to $15.0 million of its common stock for cash. The Company used available cash to finance these repurchases. The Company suspended its stock repurchase program described above prior to the commencement of the tender offer. Pursuant to the tender offer, the Company purchased 312,339 shares of its common stock at a price of $7.75 per share. The tender offer expired December 17, 2010.

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Item 6.     Selected Financial Data


SELECTED HISTORICAL FINANCIAL DATA

        The following table presents summary selected historical consolidated financial information for Tree.com, Inc. This data was derived, in part, from the historical consolidated financial statements of Tree.com included elsewhere herein and reflects the consolidated operations and financial position of Tree.com at the dates and for the periods indicated. The information in this table should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes and other financial data pertaining to Tree.com included herein. However, this information does not necessarily reflect what the historical financial position and results of operations of Tree.com for periods prior to the spin-off would have been had Tree.com been a stand-alone company during the periods presented.

 
  Year Ended December 31,  
 
  2010(1)   2009(2)   2008(3)   2007(4)   2006  
 
  (In thousands, except per share amounts)
 

Statement of Operations Data:

                               

Revenue

  $ 198,181   $ 216,775   $ 228,572   $ 346,378   $ 476,478  

Operating (loss) income

    (18,056 )   (24,313 )   (215,030 )   (540,440 )   14,171  

Net (loss) income

    (17,585 )   (24,474 )   (202,276 )   (550,402 )   8,693  

Net (loss) income per share

    (1.60 )   (2.32 )   (21.59 )   (59.00 )   0.93  

Operating (loss) income per share

    (1.64 )   (2.31 )   (22.95 )   (57.93 )   1.52  

 

 
  December 31,  
 
  2010   2009   2008   2007   2006  

Balance Sheet Data (end of period):

                               

Working capital (deficit)

  $ 60,949   $ 66,279   $ 72,482   $ (7,380 ) $ 79,463  

Total assets

    282,802     291,832     284,083     443,587     1,261,045  

Long-term obligations, net of current maturities

    53                 19,347  

Shareholders' equity

    101,821     120,910     138,128     214,624     773,453  

(1)
Net loss in 2010 includes impairment charges of $1.3 million and $9.0 million related to goodwill and trademarks, respectively, and are related to the Real Estate segment. In addition, there were impairment charges of $0.5 million related to trademarks in the Exchanges.

(2)
Net loss in 2009 includes impairment charges of $3.9 million related to definite-lived intangible assets within the new homes referral service business of Real Estate. In addition, 2009 impairment charges of $0.5 million and $1.7 million related to trademarks with the Exchanges and Real Estate, respectively. Tree.com also recorded a $12.8 million charge related to litigation matters that negatively impacted 2009 operating loss. The $12.8 million liability was paid in 2010.

(3)
Net loss in 2008 includes impairment charges of $131.0 million and $33.4 million related to goodwill and an indefinite- lived intangible asset, respectively. The charge related to LendingTree Loans was a goodwill impairment charge of $0.9 million. The charges associated with the Exchanges were $69.3 million related to goodwill and $33.4 million related to an indefinite-lived intangible asset. The charge related to Real Estate was a goodwill impairment charge of $60.8 million.

(4)
Net loss in 2007 includes impairment charges of $459.5 million and $16.2 million related to goodwill and an indefinite-lived intangible asset, respectively. The charge related to LendingTree Loans was a goodwill impairment charge of $45.6 million. The charges associated with the Exchanges were $413.9 million related to goodwill and $16.2 million related to an indefinite-lived intangible asset.

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Item 7.     Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

Management Overview

        On August 20, 2008, Tree.com, Inc. ("Tree.com") was spun off from its parent company, IAC/InterActiveCorp ("IAC") into a separate publicly traded company. We refer to the separation transaction as the "spin-off." In connection with the spin-off, Tree.com was incorporated as a Delaware corporation in April 2008.

        Tree.com is the parent of LendingTree, LLC, which owns several brands and businesses that provide information, tools, advice, products and services for critical transactions in our customers' lives. Our family of brands includes: LendingTree.com®, GetSmart.com®, RealEstate.com®, DegreeTree.com®, HealthTree.com®, LendingTreeAutos.com, DoneRight.com®, and InsuranceTree.com®. Together, these brands serve as an ally for consumers who are looking to comparison shop for loans, real estate and other services from multiple businesses and professionals who will compete for their business.

        These businesses and brands are operated under the segments known as LendingTree Loans, the Exchanges and Real Estate. Additionally, certain shared indirect costs that are described below are reported as "Unallocated—Corporate."

        The expenses presented below for each of the business segments include an allocation of certain corporate expenses that are identifiable and directly benefit those segments. The unallocated expenses are those corporate overhead expenses that are not directly attributable to a segment and include: expenses such as finance, legal, executive, technology support, and human resources, as well as elimination of inter-segment revenue and costs.

        The LendingTree Loans segment originates, processes, approves and funds various residential real estate loans through Home Loan Center, Inc., dba LendingTree Loans ("HLC"). The HLC and LendingTree Loans brand names are collectively referred to in this report as "LendingTree Loans."

        The Exchanges segment consists of online lead generation networks and call centers that connect consumers and service providers principally in the lending, higher education, home services, insurance and automobile marketplaces.

        The Real Estate segment consists of a proprietary full-service real estate brokerage (RealEstate.com, REALTORS®) that operates in 20 U.S. markets as of December 31, 2010, as well as an online lead generation network accessed at www.RealEstate.com , that connects consumers with third party real estate brokerages around the country. In January and February of 2011, the Company closed 5 brokerage markets that were unprofitable, and we anticipate closing 2 additional unprofitable brokerage markets in March 2011. The Company is continuing to evaluate the future profitability of all brokerage markets as part of aligning our cost structure with revenue opportunities.

Business Overview

    Recent Mortgage Banking Trends

        Interest rate and market risk can be substantial in the mortgage business. Fluctuations in interest rates drive consumer demand for new mortgages and the level of refinancing activity, which in turn affects total revenue from the origination and sale of loans. Typically, a decline in mortgage interest rates will lead to an increase in mortgage originations and revenue, and an increase in mortgage interest rates will lead to a decrease in mortgage originations and revenue.

        Mortgage rates began 2010 slightly above 5.0%, and fluctuated very little through May, but then declined to 4.2% by November. Then in the last two months of 2010, mortgage rates swiftly increased to 5.0% by year-end, and mortgage applications dropped off significantly in December 2010 as a result. Most economic forecasts also predict an increase in mortgage rates of another 0.50% throughout 2011.

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    Real Estate Market

        Declines in the housing market since 2008 have impacted various aspects of our businesses. In particular, revenue from the Real Estate segment decreased in 2010 and 2009 from previous years as a result of fewer real estate transactions and lower sales prices. Further, revenues for the LendingTree Loans and Exchange segments have been impacted by falling home prices and increased foreclosures.

    Expenses

        As revenues have declined the Company has focused on expense savings and is taking various initiatives to reduce costs. During the first quarter of 2011, the Company commenced a voluntary severance plan for certain corporate employees and conducted a reduction in force at HLC. In addition, the Company intends to cut certain ineffective marketing costs. The Company is seeking to set expenses consistent with its reduced revenues.

    SurePoint Acquisition

        In November 2010, LendingTree Loans entered into an agreement to purchase certain assets and liabilities of SurePoint. SurePoint has been a Network Lender for more than 11 years and was named the number one refinance lender on the LendingTree network in 2009. SurePoint has nearly 500 employees, including more than 300 licensed loan officers. Under the terms of the agreement, LendingTree Loans will make an initial payment of approximately $6 million in cash upon the closing of the transaction and will make contingent consideration payments on an annual basis for the next thirty-six months based on LendingTree Loans' pre-tax net income derived from the assets acquired. The aggregate purchase price, including the initial payment and contingent consideration, will not exceed $23 million. The transaction is projected to close in March 2011.

Results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008:

    Revenue

 
  Years Ended December 31,  
 
  2010   $ Change   % Change   2009   $ Change   % Change   2008  
 
  (Dollars in thousands)
 

LendingTree Loans:

                                           
 

Origination and sale of loans

  $ 113,425   $ 3,105     3 % $ 110,320   $ 21,352     24 % $ 88,968  
 

Other

    10,755     3,405     46 %   7,350     (1,611 )   (18 )%   8,961  
                                   

Total LendingTree Loans

    124,180     6,510     6 %   117,670     19,741     20 %   97,929  

Exchanges:

                                           
 

Match fees

    48,506     3,886     9 %   44,620     (12,904 )   (22 )%   57,524  
 

Closed loan fees

    8,519     (14,933 )   (64 )%   23,452     (12,118 )   (34 )%   35,570  
 

Other

    2,893     305     12 %   2,588     (240 )   (8 )%   2,828  
 

Inter-segment revenue

    200     200     100 %           %    
                                   

Total Exchanges

    60,118     (10,542 )   (15 )%   70,660     (25,262 )   (26 )%   95,922  

Real Estate

    14,083     (14,362 )   (50 )%   28,445     (7,482 )   (21 )%   35,927  

Inter-segment revenue

    (200 )   (200 )   100 %       1,206     (100 )%   (1,206 )
                                   

Total revenue

  $ 198,181   $ (18,594 )   (9 )% $ 216,775   $ (11,797 )   (5 )% $ 228,572  
                                   

        Revenue from LendingTree Loans increased only slightly in 2010 from 2009. Both the number of closed loans and the dollar value of closed loans decreased by 2% in 2010, and the average loan amount was flat year-over-year. An increase of 3% in the revenue generated per funded loan offset the declines noted above. LendingTree Loans was able to increase pricing in certain areas as the supply of

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qualified consumers was at or near capacity for much of 2010. The increased pricing combined with the high numbers of leads caused revenue to be higher than in 2009. In addition, the provision for previously sold loans, which is recorded as reduction of revenue, decreased $4.0 million in 2010 from 2009 to $12.4 million. In 2009, the provision included the loan loss settlements with two buyers of previously purchased limited documentation loans.

        Revenue from LendingTree Loans increased in 2009 from 2008 primarily due to an increase in the number of loans sold, up 21% over 2008, and a 4% increase in the average loan amount originated. The number of loans sold increased primarily due to a historically low mortgage interest rate environment that began late in the fourth quarter of 2008 and continued through the first half of 2009, which increased the number of consumers seeking a loan and increased their propensity to close a loan. The average loan amount increased over 2008, reflecting a higher percentage of refinance loans which carried a higher average loan amount than the purchase loans in 2009. Offsetting these increases, in part, was a higher charge to the provision for previously sold loans. The provision increased from $1.3 million in 2008 to $16.4 million in 2009, reflecting an increase in 2009 in the quantity and amount of losses realized for representation and warranty issues related primarily to second lien position loans previously sold from 2005 through 2007. The Company attributes the increased loan loss experience to relatively higher levels of borrower defaults on loans from that period which were originated with lower underwriting standards (such as stated income, a practice that was discontinued in late 2007).

        The dollar value of loans closed directly by LendingTree Loans is as follows:

 
  Year Ended December 31,  
 
  2010   $ Change   % Change   2009   $ Change   % Change   2008  
 
  (Dollars in millions)
 

Refinance mortgages

  $ 2,557   $ 3     % $ 2,554   $ 660     35 % $ 1,894  

Purchase mortgages

    234     (68 )   (22 )%   302     (167 )   (36 )%   469  
                                   

Total

  $ 2,791   $ (65 )   (2 )% $ 2,856   $ 493     21 % $ 2,363  
                                   

        LendingTree Loans originates mortgage loans on property located throughout the United States. Revenue from loans originated for property in California totaled approximately 12%, 11% and 5% of Tree.com's consolidated revenue for the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009, and 2008, respectively.

        Revenue from the Exchanges in 2010 declined from 2009 primarily due to fewer loan requests from consumers, resulting in fewer matched requests and fewer loans closed through Network Lenders. Overall, matched requests for 2010 declined 12% from 2009, which reflects a decline of 39% in home loan matches offset by an increase of 65% in matches for the new consumer vertical areas of higher education, home services, insurance, and automobile. Home loan matches were down because of the expansion of volume taken by LendingTree Loans and many lenders experiencing their own high levels of organic lead volume during the low interest rate environment in 2010. Matches in new consumer verticals have grown as a result of both business acquisitions completed in 2009 and increased marketing spending. The overall impact on match fees was an increase of 9%, reflecting a shift in pricing on home loan related matches to increase the average match fee (and decrease the average close loan fee). Also impacting the revenue from closed loan fees was a 31% decline in closed units in the period as a result of the decline in matched loan requests.

        Revenue from the Exchanges in 2009 declined from 2008 primarily due to fewer loan requests from consumers, resulting in fewer matched requests and fewer loans closed through Network Lenders. Due to five Federal Reserve interest rate cuts during the first quarter of 2008, significant consumer refinance demand was stimulated on our network in the early part of 2008. Although mortgage rates remained near historical lows in 2009, matched requests in 2009 were still down 25% from the peak levels in 2008. As a result of fewer matched requests, closed loan units through the Exchange also declined, resulting in 34% lower closed loan fees.

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        The dollar value of loans closed by Exchange Network Lenders is as follows:

 
  Years Ended December 31,  
 
  2010   $ Change   % Change   2009   $ Change   % Change   2008  
 
  (Dollars in millions)
 

Refinance mortgages

  $ 4,008   $ (2,798 )   (43 )% $ 6,806   $ 283     4 % $ 6,523  

Purchase mortgages

    2,093     (456 )   (18 )%   2,549     (1,559 )   (38 )%   4,108  

Other

    261     (274 )   (51 )%   535     (1,402 )   (72 )%   1,937  
                                   

Total

  $ 6,362   $ (3,528 )   (37 )% $ 9,890   $ (2,678 )   (21 )% $ 12,568  
                                   

        Real Estate revenue in 2010 and 2009 decreased from the previous years principally due to a decrease in closings each year due to the persistent negative real estate market conditions contributing to lower home sales prices and fewer real estate transactions overall. The dollar value of the Company's real estate closings decreased 51% in 2010, from $1.2 billion in 2009 to $0.6 billion in 2010, and decreased 35% in 2009, from $1.9 billion in 2008 to $1.2 billion in 2009. The number of agents working for our company-owned brokerage remained constant from 2008 to 2009 at approximately 1,200, but decreased in 2010 to approximately 650. The company-owned brokerage also operated in 20 markets in 2010, 2009 and 2008.

    Cost of revenue

 
  Years Ended December 31  
 
  2010   $ Change   % Change   2009   $ Change   % Change   2008  
 
  (Dollars in thousands)
 

LendingTree Loans

  $ 44,056   $ (4,942 )   (10 )% $ 48,998   $ 4,593     10 % $ 44,405  

Exchanges

    4,481     (1,476 )   (25 )%   5,957     (3,013 )   (34 )%   8,970  

Real Estate

    9,028     (9,018 )   (50 )%   18,046     (3,247 )   (15 )%   21,293  

Unallocated—corporate

    499     (1,260 )   (72 )%   1,759     (370 )   (17 )%   2,129  
                                   

Cost of revenue

  $ 58,064   $ (16,696 )   (22 )% $ 74,760   $ (2,037 )   (3 )% $ 76,797  
                                   

As a percentage of total revenue

    29 %               34 %               34 %

 

 
  Years Ended December 31,  
As a Percentage of Segment Revenue
  2010   2009   2008  

LendingTree Loans

    35 %   42 %   45 %

Exchanges

    7 %   8 %   9 %

Real Estate

    64 %   63 %   59 %

Unallocated—corporate, as a percentage of total revenue

    %   1 %   1 %

        Cost of revenue consists primarily of costs associated with loan originations, compensation and other employee-related costs (including stock-based compensation) related to customer call centers, real estate network support staff and loan officers, as well as credit scoring fees, consumer incentive costs, real estate agent commissions and website network hosting and server fees.

        Cost of revenue in 2010 decreased from 2009 primarily due to decreases of $7.7 million in costs associated with originations at LendingTree Loans, $7.3 million in reduced real estate commissions related to fewer closings in Real Estate, $2.2 million in consumer incentive rebates related to fewer closings at the Exchanges and in Real Estate, and $0.6 million in compensation and other employee-related costs. The decreases in the cost of loan originations are primarily due to a change in the fee structure in October 2009 whereby the origination fee charged to the borrower was reduced and no longer covered certain origination costs that were previously paid and recorded as expense by

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LendingTree Loans. Under the current fee structure, these origination costs are passed through to the borrower directly.

        Offsetting these decreases in cost of revenue was an increase of $0.6 million in the cost of credit scoring and licensing fees.

        Cost of revenue in 2009 decreased from 2008 primarily due to decreases of $5.8 million in consumer incentive rebates related to fewer closings at the Exchanges and in Real Estate, $3.2 million in compensation and other employee-related costs and $1.6 million related to closing the settlement services operations in the fourth quarter of 2008. The decrease in compensation and other employee-related costs reflects the combination of reduced personnel costs associated with Tree.com's customer call center, settlement services operation and portions of its loan processing department, offset by an increase in commissions paid to loan officers at LendingTree Loans due to higher loan originations.

        Offsetting these decreases in cost of revenue was an increase of $6.3 million in costs associated with loan originations in LendingTree Loans and a $1.8 million increase in commissions paid to real estate agents. The increase in loan origination costs corresponds to the increases in both revenue from the origination and sales of loans and the dollar value of loans closed directly by LendingTree Loans. The increase in commissions paid to real estate agents both in dollars and as a percentage of revenue is primarily due to an increase in the number of closings from agent-generated leads compared to closings from company-generated leads. Commissions paid to agents for closings from self-generated leads are typically paid out at a higher percentage of revenue than closings from company-generated leads.

    Selling and marketing expense

 
  Years Ended December 31  
 
  2010   $ Change   % Change   2009   $ Change   % Change   2008  
 
  (Dollars in thousands)
 

LendingTree Loans

  $ 22,148   $ 11,921     117 % $ 10,227   $ (9,024 )   (47 )% $ 19,251  

Exchanges

    50,045     3,035     6 %   47,010     (23,459 )   (33 )%   70,469  

Real Estate

    1,865     (2,847 )   (60 )%   4,712     (2,677 )   (36 )%   7,389  

Inter-segment marketing

    16     8     115 %   8     8     100 %    
                                   

Selling and marketing expense

  $ 74,074   $ 12,117     20 % $ 61,957   $ (35,152 )   (36 )% $ 97,109  
                                   

As a percentage of total revenue

    37 %               29 %               42 %

 

 
  Years Ended December 31,  
As a Percentage of Segment Revenue
  2010   2009   2008  

LendingTree Loans

    18 %   9 %   20 %

Exchanges

    83 %   67 %   73 %

Real Estate

    13 %   17 %   21 %

        Selling and marketing expense consists primarily of advertising and promotional expenditures, fees paid to lead sources, and compensation and other employee-related costs (including stock-based compensation) for personnel engaged in the sales function. Advertising and promotional expenditures primarily include online marketing, as well as television, print and radio spending. Advertising production costs are expensed in the period the related ad is first run.

        During the third quarter of 2010, the Company changed its accounting policy for inter-segment revenue and inter-segment marketing expense between the LendingTree Loans and Exchanges segments. This change only impacts the individual segment results, and does not impact the consolidated financial results of Tree.com.

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        Marketing expense for the Exchanges is primarily related to the building and maintaining of the Company's core brands, using both online and offline spending, and generates leads not only for the Exchanges but for other segments as well. Previously, marketing expense for LendingTree Loans was primarily comprised of inter-segment purchases of leads from the Exchanges, leveraging the LendingTree and GetSmart brands. The Exchanges received inter-segment revenue for the sale of these leads, and that revenue and the related marketing expense at LendingTree Loans would then be eliminated in consolidation of the total Company results. Advertising for Real Estate primarily consists of lead generation through online spending, as well as lead purchases from Exchanges.

        The Company now uses a cost sharing approach for these marketing expenses, whereby LendingTree Loans and the Exchanges share the marketing expense on a pro rata basis, based on the quantity of leads received by each segment. There is no longer inter-segment revenue or inter-segment marketing expense between these two segments related to these leads. Management believes that this cost sharing approach is preferable because it more closely aligns the overall goals of the Company with the goals of segment management, and may ultimately drive the Company to better performance.

        Segment reporting results for prior periods have been restated to conform to the new presentation.

        Advertising expense is the largest component of selling and marketing expense and is comprised of the following:

 
  Years Ended December 31  
 
  2010   $ Change   % Change   2009   $ Change   % Change   2008  
 
  (Dollars in thousands)
 

Online

  $ 47,244   $ 10,678     29 % $ 36,566   $ (20,158 )   (36 )% $ 56,724  

Broadcast

    15,921     1,161     8 %   14,760     (10,934 )   (43 )%   25,694  

Other

    6,625     65     %   6,560     (1,338 )   (17 )%   7,898  
                                   

Total advertising expense

  $ 69,790   $ 11,904     21 % $ 57,886   $ (32,430 )   (36 )% $ 90,316  
                                   

        The overall increase in advertising expense from 2009 to 2010 is due to several factors. In 2009, Exchanges was able to decrease advertising spending as it experienced naturally higher consumer demand that was driven by the lower mortgage interest rate environment and improvements in organic traffic. Also, LendingTree Loans received "overflow" leads during the early part of 2009 from a partner whose volume of leads exceeded its capacity. While overall mortgage interest rates remained low in 2010, there was not the significant and swift decline in rates as in 2009 that captured the attention of the consumer, so Exchanges responded by increasing advertising spending by 21% and generated a lower quantity of matched requests (a 12% decrease from the same period in 2009). This resulted in marketing expense as a percentage of revenue returning to a more normalized level of 37% in 2010. This increase also directly impacts the allocated cost per lead for LendingTree Loans, which is reflected in the increase in marketing expense for that segment in the table above.

        In 2009, the decline in advertising expense compared to 2008 levels, both in dollars and as a percentage of revenue, was related to a decrease in the cost per lead acquired for LendingTree Loans because of the overflow volume noted above. The Exchanges segment also experienced a decline in its expense due to naturally higher consumer demand driven by the favorable mortgage rate trends and improvements in organic traffic.

        Tree.com anticipates that it will continue to adjust selling and marketing expenditures generally in relation to revenue producing opportunities and that selling and marketing expense will continue to represent a high percentage of revenue as it continues to promote its brands both online and offline.

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    General and administrative expense

 
  Years Ended December 31  
 
  2010   $ Change   % Change   2009   $ Change   % Change   2008  
 
  (Dollars in thousands)
 

LendingTree Loans

  $ 24,253   $ 3,879     19 % $ 20,374   $ (1,479 )   (7 )% $ 21,853  

Exchanges

    5,367     (3,674 )   (41 )%   9,041     631     7 %   8,410  

Real Estate

    5,464     (3,278 )   (37 )%   8,742     (6,566 )   (43 )%   15,308  

Unallocated—corporate

    19,598     (7,146 )   (27 )%   26,744     (617 )   (2 )%   27,361  
                                   

General and administrative expense

  $ 54,682   $ (10,219 )   (16 )% $ 64,901   $ (8,031 )   (11 )% $ 72,932  
                                   

As a percentage of total revenue

    28 %               30 %               32 %

 

 
  Years Ended December 31,  
As a Percentage of Segment Revenue
  2010   2009   2008  

LendingTree Loans

    20 %   17 %   22 %

Exchanges

    9 %   13 %   9 %

Real Estate

    39 %   31 %   43 %

Unallocated—corporate, as a percentage of total revenue

    10 %   12 %   12 %

        General and administrative expense consists primarily of compensation and other employee-related costs (including stock-based compensation) for personnel engaged in finance, legal, tax, corporate information technology, human resources and executive management functions, as well as facilities and infrastructure costs and fees for professional services.

        General and administrative expense in 2010 decreased from 2009, reflecting a $4.1 million reduction in compensation and other employee-related costs (excluding non-cash compensation) as a result of prior restructuring activities, a $2.7 million decrease in professional fees, a $1.2 million decrease in facilities costs due to occupying fewer facilities, a $1.1 million reduction of expense related to post acquisition adjustments, and a $0.8 million reduction in the loss on sales of fixed assets. The post acquisition adjustments are a result of the change in fair value of the estimated contingent consideration to be paid for business acquisitions that were completed in 2009. These adjustments are shown as a reduction of expense within general and administrative expense, but are excluded from our definition of Adjusted EBITDA.

        General and administrative expense within the LendingTree Loans segment in 2010 increased primarily due to increases of $2.0 million in compensation and other employee-related costs (excluding non-cash compensation) and $1.1 million in professional fees. The increase in compensation expense is due to increased headcount compared to 2009. The increase in professional fees is due to our acquisition of certain assets of SurePoint that was announced in November 2010 and expected to close in March 2011.

        General and administrative expense within the Exchanges segment in 2010 decreased primarily due to a reduction of $0.9 million in compensation and other employee-related costs (excluding non-cash compensation), $0.9 million reduction in fixed asset losses, $0.9 million reduction of expense related to post acquisition adjustments, and a decrease of $0.5 million in building rent. The decrease in compensation is due to a reduction in headcount. The reduction in rent expense is a result of occupying fewer facilities in 2010.

        General and administrative expense within the Real Estate segment in 2010 decreased primarily due to a reduction of $2.2 million in cash compensation and other employee-related costs as a result of prior restructuring activities, a reduction of $0.8 million in facilities costs, and $0.2 million reduction of expense related to post acquisition adjustments. Occupying fewer offices caused the decrease in facilities costs.

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        General and administrative expense within the Unallocated-corporate segment in 2010 declined primarily due to reductions of $3.8 million in professional fees and $3.0 million in compensation and benefits (excluding non-cash compensation). The reduction in professional fees was a result of two lawsuits settled in late 2009 that generated considerable legal consulting expenses in 2009.

        General and administrative expense in 2009 decreased from 2008. However, 2008 included a $5.5 million charge to non-cash compensation expense due to the modification of equity-based awards related to the spin-off, which consisted of accelerated vesting of certain restricted stock units and the modification of vested stock options. The overall decrease also reflects a $2.6 million reduction in compensation and other employee-related costs (excluding non-cash compensation) as a result of prior restructuring activities, a $0.7 million decrease in facilities costs due to lower headcount and occupying fewer facilities, and a $0.7 million decrease in franchise and local taxes. Offsetting these reductions were increases in the loss on disposal of fixed assets of $1.1 million, and professional fees of $0.7 million related to various litigation, regulatory and general corporate matters.

        General and administrative expense within the LendingTree Loans segment in 2009 declined $1.5 million from 2008 primarily due to decreases of $0.9 million in facilities costs and $0.6 million in compensation and other employee-related costs (excluding non-cash compensation), both due to lower headcount.

        General and administrative expense within the Exchanges segment in 2009 increased $0.6 million from 2008 primarily due to increases of $0.4 million in compensation and other employee-related costs (excluding non-cash compensation) and $0.3 million in software maintenance costs. The increase in compensation is due to additional headcount from business acquisitions completed by the Company in 2009.

        General and administrative expense within the Real Estate segment in 2009 declined $6.6 million from 2008 due to a reduction of $3.0 million in non-cash compensation and a decrease of $3.0 million in cash compensation and other employee-related costs as a result of prior restructuring activities.

        General and administrative expense within the Unallocated-corporate segment in 2009 declined $0.6 million from 2008 due to reductions of $3.0 million in non-cash compensation and $0.7 million in franchise and local taxes. Offsetting these reductions were increases of $2.4 million in professional fees related to various litigation, regulatory and general corporate matters and $0.6 million in cash compensation and other employee-related costs.

        Additionally, general and administrative expense includes non-cash compensation expense of $3.3 million in 2010, $3.5 million in 2009 and $9.5 million in 2008. As discussed above, non-cash compensation in 2008 includes a $5.5 million charge due to the modification of equity-based awards related to the spin-off, consisting of the accelerated vesting of certain restricted stock units and the modification of vested stock options. The Company has placed greater emphasis on equity compensation than did IAC. The Compensation Committee determined that the Company's compensation programs should have less of a fixed component and, instead, should be much more variable and tied to individual and corporate performance.

        As of December 31, 2010, there was approximately $1.6 million, $2.9 million and $1.9 million of unrecognized compensation cost, net of estimated forfeitures, related to stock options, restricted stock units and restricted stock, respectively. These costs are expected to be recognized over a weighted-average period of approximately 1.9 years for stock options, 2.0 years for restricted stock units and 2.1 years for restricted stock.

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    Product development

 
  Years Ended December 31  
 
  2010   $ Change   % Change   2009   $ Change   % Change   2008  
 
  (Dollars in thousands)
 

LendingTree Loans

  $ 331   $ (187 )   (36 )% $ 518   $ (218 )   (30 )% $ 736  

Exchanges

    3,293     500     18 %   2,793     (538 )   (16 )%   3,331  

Real Estate

    337     (1,009 )   (75 )%   1,346     (899 )   (40 )%   2,245  

Unallocated—corporate

    194     (1,111 )   (85 )%   1,305     912     232 %   393  
                                   

Product development

  $ 4,155   $ (1,807 )   (30 )% $ 5,962   $ (743 )   (11 )% $ 6,705  
                                   

As a percentage of total revenue

    2 %               3 %               3 %

 

 
  Years Ended December 31,  
As a Percentage of Segment Revenue
  2010   2009   2008  

LendingTree Loans

    %   %   1 %

Exchanges

    5 %   4 %   3 %

Real Estate

    2 %   5 %   6 %

Unallocated—corporate, as a percentage of total revenue

    %   1 %   %

        Product development expense consists primarily of compensation and other employee-related costs (including stock-based compensation) for personnel engaged in product development, which include costs related to the design, development, testing and enhancement of technology that is not capitalized.

        Product development expense decreased in 2010 and 2009, due to decreased compensation and other employee-related costs due to decreased headcount, offset by an increase in outsourcing and technology contractors.

    Adjusted Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization

        Adjusted Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization ("Adjusted EBITDA") is a non-GAAP measure and is defined in "Tree.com's Principles of Financial Reporting" later in this report. For a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to operating income (loss) for Tree.com's operating segments and to net loss in total, see Note 8 to the consolidated financial statements.

 
  Years Ended December 31  
 
  2010   $ Change   % Change   2009   $ Change   % Change   2008  
 
  (Dollars in thousands)
 

LendingTree Loans

  $ 33,826   $ (4,062 )   (11 )% $ 37,888   $ 26,109     222 % $ 11,779  

Exchanges

    (3,162 )   (10,639 )   NM     7,477     1,103     17 %   6,374  

Real Estate

    (2,459 )   1,645     40 %   (4,104 )   2,345     36 %   (6,449 )

Unallocated—corporate

    (18,152 )   8,899     33 %   (27,051 )   (1,617 )   (6 )%   (25,434 )
                                   

Adjusted EBITDA

  $ 10,053   $ (4,157 )   (29 )% $ 14,210   $ 27,940     NM   $ (13,730 )
                                   

As a percentage of total revenue

    5 %               7 %               (6 )%

 

 
  Years Ended December 31,  
As a Percentage of Segment Revenue
  2010   2009   2008  

LendingTree Loans

    27 %   32 %   12 %

Exchanges

    (5 )%   11 %   7 %

Real Estate

    (17 )%   (14 )%   (18 )%

Unallocated—corporate, as a percentage of total revenue

    (9 )%   (12 )%   (11 )%

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        The decrease in Adjusted EBITDA from 2009 to 2010 reflects the Company's increased operating costs as detailed above. Revenue also decreased in 2010 compared to 2009, but was essentially offset by a similar reduction in cost of revenue.

        The increase in Adjusted EBITDA from 2008 to 2009 reflects an increase in the gross margin at LendingTree Loans and decreases in operating costs principally due to the marketing reductions and previous restructuring activities noted above.

    Operating income (loss)

 
  Years Ended December 31  
 
  2010   $ Change   % Change   2009   $ Change   % Change   2008  
 
  (Dollars in thousands)
 

LendingTree Loans

  $ 30,147   $ (4,884 )   (14 )% $ 35,031   $ 34,413     5,561 % $ 618  

Exchanges

    (6,996 )   (8,805 )   NM     1,809     105,922     NM     (104,113 )

Real Estate

    (16,340 )   141     1 %   (16,481 )   60,371     79 %   (76,852 )

Unallocated—corporate

    (24,867 )   19,805     44 %   (44,672 )   (9,989 )   (29 )%   (34,683 )
                                   

Operating loss

  $ (18,056 ) $ 6,257     26 % $ (24,313 ) $ 190,717     89 % $ (215,030 )
                                   

As a percentage of total revenue

    (9 )%               (11 )%               (94 )%

 

 
  Years Ended December 31,  
As a Percentage of Segment Revenue
  2010   2009   2008  

LendingTree Loans

    24 %   30 %   1 %

Exchanges

    (12 )%   3 %   (109 )%

Real Estate

    (116 )%   (58 )%   (214 )%

Unallocated—corporate, as a percentage of total revenue

    (13 )%   (21 )%   (15 )%

        Operating loss in 2010 improved from 2009, primarily as a result of decreased operating expenses. In addition to the reasons provided in the analysis above, operating expenses were less in 2010 due to decreased legal settlement costs, partially offset by increased impairment charges for intangible assets. The reduction in legal settlement costs was the result of two lawsuits settled in 2009. The impairment charges were recorded in connection with the Company's annual impairment assessment as of October 1, 2010. Tree.com identified and recorded impairment charges related to goodwill and trademarks of $1.3 million and $9.0 million, respectively, in Real Estate. These impairments were the result of the Company's reassessment of Real Estate's future anticipated cash flows given the continued challenging real estate market conditions. These include an increased rate of mortgage loan delinquencies and home foreclosures, which ultimately lead to declines in real estate values, which is the basis for Real Estate commission revenue. In addition, there were impairment charges of $0.5 million related to trademarks in the Exchanges.

        Operating loss in 2009 improved from 2008, primarily as a result of asset impairment charges totaling $164.3 million that were incurred in 2008. In the second quarter of 2008, Tree.com recorded impairment charges of $131.0 million and $33.4 million related to goodwill and an indefinite-lived intangible asset, respectively. The charge related to LendingTree Loans was a goodwill impairment charge of $0.9 million. The charges associated with the Exchanges were $69.3 million related to goodwill and $33.4 million related to an indefinite-lived intangible asset. The charge related to Real Estate was a goodwill impairment charge of $60.8 million.

        In addition to the increase in Adjusted EBITDA discussed above, operating loss in 2009 includes impairment charges of $6.1 million related to definite-lived and indefinite-lived intangible assets. In the second quarter of 2009, the new Real Estate operating segment leadership undertook significant

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changes in management, operational focus and marketing efforts related to the new homes referral services business. These changes combined with the continued deterioration of new housing starts and new homes sales in 2009, caused the Company to reassess the remaining useful lives and the likely future recoverability of the remaining value of certain definite-lived intangible assets. In testing the recoverability of these assets, indications of impairment were determined to exist, and subsequent impairment testing resulted in a $3.9 million charge in Real Estate. Additionally, as part of the annual impairment test in the fourth quarter of 2009, Tree.com recorded impairment charges of $0.5 million in the Exchanges and $1.7 million in Real Estate related to indefinite-lived intangible assets.

        Finally, in the fourth quarter of 2009, Tree.com recorded a $12.8 million charge related to litigation matters that negatively impacted operating loss. The litigation matters were either settled, or a firm offer for settlement was extended by Tree.com in the fourth quarter, thereby establishing an accrual amount that was both probable and reasonably estimable. The $12.8 million liability was paid in 2010.

        Continued adverse market conditions may cause continued operating losses and require additional restructuring of Tree.com's operations, which could result in additional restructuring charges and additional impairment charges.

    Income tax provision

        For the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009, and 2008, Tree.com recorded a tax benefit of $0.9 million, $0.4 million and $13.3 million, respectively, which represents effective tax rates of 5.1%, 1.5%, and 6.2%, respectively. The 2010, 2009 and 2008 tax rate is lower than the federal statutory rate of 35% due principally to a full valuation allowance on deferred tax assets.

        As of December 31, 2010 and 2009, the unrecognized tax benefits, including interest, were $0.1 million and $1.0 million, respectively. The 2008 unrecognized beginning tax benefit included approximately $1.0 million for tax positions included in IAC's consolidated tax return filings. In 2010, unrecognized tax benefits decreased due to lapse of statute of limitations. The amount of unrecognized tax benefits that, if recognized, would impact the effective tax rate is approximately $0.1 million.

        Tree.com recognizes interest and, if applicable, penalties related to unrecognized tax benefits in income tax expense. Included in income tax expense for the years ended December 31, 2010 and 2009 is $0.01 and $0.07 million, respectively, for interest on unrecognized tax benefits. At December 31, 2010 and 2009, Tree.com has accrued $0.01 million and $0.07 million, respectively, for the payment of interest. There are no material accruals for penalties.

        Tree.com is subject to audits by federal, state and local authorities in the area of income tax. These audits include questioning the timing and the amount of deductions and the allocation of income among various tax jurisdictions. Income taxes payable include amounts considered sufficient to pay assessments that may result from examination of prior year returns; however, the amount paid upon resolution of issues raised may differ from the amount provided. Differences between the reserves for tax contingencies and the amounts owed by Tree.com are recorded in the period they become known.

        The Internal Revenue Service is currently examining IAC consolidated tax returns for the years ended December 31, 2001 through 2006. The statute of limitations for these years has been extended to December 31, 2011. These examinations are expected to be completed in 2011. Various state and local jurisdictions are currently under examination, the most significant of which are California, New York, and New York City for various tax years beginning with December 31, 2003. These examinations are expected to be completed in 2011. Under the terms of a tax sharing agreement with IAC, which was executed in connection with the spin-off, IAC generally retains the liability related to federal and state returns filed on a consolidated or unitary basis for all periods prior to the spin-off.

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        The North Carolina Department of Revenue ("NCDOR") is currently examining the Company's North Carolina corporate income and franchise tax returns for the years ended December 31, 2006 through 2008, and issued preliminary audit reports to the Company in January 2011. The Company has until March 17, 2011 to respond to the NCDOR regarding the preliminary audit reports. The Company has evaluated this matter as a potential loss contingency, and has determined that it is reasonably possible that a loss could be incurred. The range of a possible loss is estimated to be $-0- to $4.0 million. No reserve has been established for this matter as the Company has determined that the likelihood of a loss is not probable.

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FINANCIAL POSITION, LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES

        As of December 31, 2010, Tree.com had $79.5 million of cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash and cash equivalents.

        Net cash used in operating activities was $25.0 million in the year ended December 31, 2010, compared to net cash provided by operating activities of $13.2 million in the same period in 2009. This net $38.2 million decrease in cash provided from operations was primarily due to a $14.4 million decrease in the amount of net cash proceeds from the origination and sale of loans, and a $10.5 million decrease in accounts payable and other current liabilities in 2010 compared to a $15.2 million increase in 2009. The 2009 increase in accounts payable and other current liabilities was primarily caused by a $12.8 million increase in litigation related accruals for settled matters and other contingencies as well as a $2.6 million increase in accrued advertising related to relatively higher spending levels in 2009 compared to 2008. The 2010 decrease in accounts payable and other current liabilities was primarily caused by the payment of the litigation related accruals noted above.

        Net cash used in investing activities in the year ended December 31, 2010 of $5.3 million primarily resulted from capital expenditures of $7.2 million, offset by the release of restricted cash of $2.2 million. Net cash used in investing activities in the year ended December 31, 2009 of $5.6 million primarily resulted from business acquisitions of $5.7 million and capital expenditures of $3.9 million, offset by the release of restricted cash of $4.0 million.

        Net cash provided by financing activities in 2010 of $13.0 million was primarily due to net borrowings under warehouse lines of credit of $22.1 million offset by the use of $8.5 million to purchase treasury stock. Net cash provided by financing activities in 2009 of $4.8 million was primarily due to net borrowings under warehouse lines of credit of $2.3 million and proceeds from the sale of common stock of $3.4 million. The net borrowings and repayments under warehouse lines of credit are related to the change in loans held for sale at LendingTree Loans and are included within cash flows from operations.

        As of December 31, 2010, LendingTree Loans had two committed lines of credit totaling $150.0 million of borrowing capacity. The total borrowing capacity under these lines was increased from $125.0 million to $150.0 million effective October 29, 2010 upon renewal of the second line. LendingTree Loans also has a $25.0 million uncommitted line with one of these lenders. Borrowings under these lines of credit are used to fund, and are secured by, consumer residential loans that are held for sale. Loans under these lines of credit are repaid using proceeds from the sales of loans held for sale by LendingTree Loans.

        The $50.0 million first line is scheduled to expire June 29, 2011. This line can be cancelled at the option of the lender without default upon sixty days notice. This first line includes an additional uncommitted credit facility of $25.0 million. This first line is also guaranteed by Tree.com, Inc., LendingTree, LLC and LendingTree Holdings Corp. The interest rate under the first line is 30-day LIBOR or 2.00% (whichever is greater) plus 2.25%. The interest rate under the $25.0 million uncommitted line is 30-day LIBOR plus 1.50%. LendingTree Loans is also required to sell at least 25% of the loans it originates to the lender under this line or pay a "pair-off fee" of 0.25% on the difference between the required and actual volume of loans sold.

        The borrowing capacity of the second line was increased from $75.0 million to $100.0 million upon renewal of the line effective October 29, 2010. The expiration date of this line is October 28, 2011. This second line is also guaranteed by Tree.com, Inc., LendingTree, LLC and LendingTree Holdings Corp. The interest rate under this line was decreased from 30-day Adjusted LIBOR or 2.0% (whichever is greater) plus 2.50% to 3.0% prior to renewal, to 30-day Adjusted LIBOR or 2.0% (whichever is greater) plus 2.25% to 2.5% after renewal, for loans being sold to the lender. Additionally, the interest rate for loans not being sold to the lender was decreased from 30-day Adjusted LIBOR or 2.0% (whichever is greater) plus 2.75% prior to renewal, to 30-day Adjusted LIBOR or 2.0% (whichever is greater) plus 2.25% after renewal.

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        Under the terms of these warehouse lines, LendingTree Loans is required to maintain various financial and other covenants. These financial covenants include, but are not limited to, maintaining (i) minimum tangible net worth of $25.0 million, (ii) minimum liquidity, (iii) a minimum current ratio, (iv) a maximum ratio of total liabilities to net worth, (v) a maximum leverage ratio, (vi) pre-tax net income requirements and (vii) a maximum warehouse capacity ratio. During the year ended December 31, 2010, LendingTree Loans was in compliance with the covenants under the lines.

        The LendingTree Loans business is highly dependent on the availability of these warehouse lines. Although we believe that our existing lines of credit are adequate for our current operations, reductions in our available credit, or the inability to renew or replace these lines, would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Management has determined that it could continue to operate the LendingTree Loans business, at a reduced capacity, if one but not both of the warehouse lines were lost. We intend to renew the lines that are expiring on June 29, 2011 and October 28, 2011.

        Tree.com anticipates that it will need to make capital and other expenditures in connection with the development and expansion of its overall operations.

        In November 2010, LendingTree Loans entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement with First Residential Mortgage Network, Inc. dba SurePoint Lending ("SurePoint") and the shareholders of SurePoint. The Agreement provides for the purchase by LendingTree Loans of certain specified assets and liabilities of SurePoint. The acquired assets also include all of the equity interests of Real Estate Title Services, LLC. Under the terms of the agreement, LendingTree Loans will make an initial payment of approximately $6 million in cash upon the closing of the transaction and will make contingent consideration payments on an annual basis for the next thirty-six months based on LendingTree Loans' pre-tax net income derived from the assets acquired. The aggregate purchase price, including the initial payment and contingent consideration, will not exceed $23 million. The Company expects to use available cash to fund the acquisition. The transaction is projected to close in March 2011.

        In connection with the completion of the spin-off, intercompany payable balances with IAC were extinguished and IAC transferred to Tree.com an amount of cash that was sufficient for its initial capitalization. Tree.com has considered its anticipated operating cash flows in 2011, cash and cash equivalents, current capacity under its warehouse lines of credit and access to capital markets, subject to restrictions in the tax sharing agreement, and believes that these are sufficient to fund its operating needs, including debt requirements, commitments, contingencies, capital and investing commitments for the foreseeable future.

        As discussed in Item 9A—Controls and Procedures, the Company did not have controls designed and in place to ensure effective oversight of the work performed by and the accuracy of financial information provided by third party tax advisors. Until remediated, this material weakness could result in a misstatement in tax-related accounts that could result in a material misstatement to our interim or annual consolidated financial statements and disclosures that may not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. We are in the process of addressing and remediating the deficiencies that gave rise to this material weakness. Since the above material weakness was identified, we have undertaken an evaluation of our available resources to provide effective oversight of the work performed by our third party tax advisors and are in the process of identifying necessary changes to our processes as required. Additionally, we are evaluating the resources available and provided to the Company by the third party tax advisor and identifying changes as required. However, the deficiencies have not been remediated as of the date of this filing. The Company does not believe this to have a significant impact on liquidity.

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CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS AND COMMERCIAL COMMITMENTS

 
  Payments Due by Period  
Contractual Obligations as of December 31, 2010
  Total   Less Than
1 Year
  1–3
Years
  3–5
Years
  More Than
5 Years
 
 
  (In thousands)
 

Short-term borrowings(a)

  $ 100,623   $ 100,623   $   $   $  

Purchase obligations(b)

    296     296              

Loan loss settlement obligations

    300     300              

Preferred stock liquidation value and accreted interest(c)

    3,112     3,112              

Termination fee for restructured lease agreement(d)

    1,675     906     414     355      

Operating leases

    15,153     4,140     6,950     4,063      

Capital leases

    98     45     53          

SurePoint acquisition

    10,000     6,000     4,000          
                       

Total contractual cash obligations

  $ 131,257   $ 115,422   $ 11,417   $ 4,418   $  
                       

(a)
The short-term borrowings are the Company's warehouse lines of credit which are used exclusively for funding loans held for sale. These borrowings are collateralized by and are repaid from proceeds from selling the loans held for sale. Interest accrual on these borrowings as of December 31, 2010 is not significant.

(b)
The purchase obligations primarily relate to marketing event contracts in 2011.

(c)
The preferred stock obligation, as more fully described in Note 16 to the consolidated financial statements, represents the obligation the Company has to redeem at maturity the remaining 2,902 shares of preferred stock which the Company's CEO was granted in LendingTree Holdings Corp., a subsidiary of Tree.com at the time of the spin-off from IAC. The Preferred Stock has a liquidation preference of $1,000 per share and cumulative cash dividends accrue on the Preferred Stock at the rate of 12% of the liquidation preference per share per year and unpaid dividends compound at a rate per annum equal to the dividend rate.

(d)
Termination fee payable to lessor for early building lease cancellation.

Seasonality

        LendingTree Loans, Exchanges and Real Estate revenue are subject to the cyclical and seasonal trends of the U.S. housing market. Home sales typically rise during the spring and summer months and decline during the fall and winter months. Refinancing and home equity activity is principally driven by mortgage interest rates as well as real estate values. The broader cyclical trends in the mortgage and real estate markets have upset the usual seasonal trends.

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CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES AND ESTIMATES

        The following disclosure is provided to supplement the descriptions of Tree.com's accounting policies contained in Note 2 to the consolidated financial statements in regard to significant areas of judgment. Management of the Company is required to make certain estimates and assumptions during the preparation of its consolidated financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. These estimates and assumptions impact the reported amount of assets and liabilities and disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities as of the date of the consolidated financial statements. They also impact the reported amount of net earnings during any period. Actual results could differ from those estimates. Because of the size of the financial statement elements to which they relate, some of our accounting policies and estimates have a more significant impact on our consolidated financial statements than others. A discussion of some of our more significant accounting policies and estimates follows.

    Loan Loss Obligations

        We make estimates as to our exposure related to our obligation to repurchase loans previously sold to investors or to repay the premium paid by the buyer. The reserves are required in the cases of underwriting deficiencies, borrower fraud, documentation defects, early payment defaults and early loan payoffs. The exposure is based on historical and projected loss frequency and loss severity using our loss history (as adjusted for recent trends in loss experience), the original principal amount of the loans previously sold, the year the loans were sold, the lien position of the mortgage in the underlying property, and the extent of documentation received. Given current general industry trends in mortgage loans as well as housing prices, market expectations around losses related to the Company's obligations could vary significantly from the obligation of $17.0 million recorded as of December 31, 2010.

    Fair Value Estimates

        We make estimates as to the value of our derivatives and loans held for sale, which are carried at fair value. These assets and liabilities are valued using tools such as quantitative risk models and a proprietary database program. The data inputs used in these valuations include market data and quotes as well as the company's own experience in funding and selling loans. These calculations inherently require management's judgment regarding the valuation methodology and the most relevant data to use in the valuation calculations. Due to volatility in the markets and judgments inherent in our estimates, the actual liquidation value of these assets could differ from their carrying values. See Note 10 to the consolidated financial statements for a discussion of our valuation methodologies and the assumptions.

    Recoverability of Goodwill and Indefinite-Lived Intangible Assets

        We review the carrying value of goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets on an annual basis as of October 1 or more frequently if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of a reporting unit below its carrying value. We determine the fair value of a reporting unit based upon an evaluation of its expected discounted cash flows and market approach (if applicable). This discounted cash flow analysis utilizes an evaluation of historical and forecasted operating results. The determination of discounted cash flows is based upon forecasted operating results that may not occur. The assessments for 2010, 2009 and 2008 identified impairment charges as more fully described above in "Results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008". The value of goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets that is subject to assessment for impairment is $11.6 million and $43.2 million, respectively, at December 31, 2010.

        As of December 31, 2010, the goodwill balance relates to the Exchanges and Real Estate segments. The annual goodwill impairment test as of October 1, 2010 included the following material assumptions: a discounted cash flow model utilizing a discount rate of 22% to 30%, a perpetual growth rate of 3% and Adjusted EBITDA margin rates of 3% to 44% of revenue from 2011 to 2015. (See Note 8 to the consolidated financial statements for the definition of Adjusted EBITDA.) As of December 31, 2010, the remaining indefinite-lived intangible assets balance relates to the Exchanges

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and Real Estate segments. The material assumptions included in the annual indefinite-lived intangible assets impairment test as of October 1, 2010 were an assumed relief from royalties model, discount rates of 22% to 30%, perpetual growth rates of 3%, and royalty rates of 1% to 5%. Management of Tree.com believes that the assumptions used in the impairment tests are reasonable. However, Tree.com's reporting units continue to operate in dynamic and challenged industry segments.

    Recoverability of Long-Lived Assets

        We review the carrying value of all long-lived assets, primarily property and equipment and definite-lived intangible assets, for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value of an asset may be impaired. Impairment is considered to have occurred whenever the carrying value of a long-lived asset exceeds the sum of the undiscounted cash flows that is expected to result from the use and eventual disposition of the asset. The determination of cash flows is based upon assumptions that may not occur. The value of long-lived assets that is subject to assessment for impairment is $15.0 million at December 31, 2010.

    Income Taxes

        Estimates of deferred income taxes and the significant items giving rise to the deferred assets and liabilities are shown in Note 12 to the consolidated financial statements, and reflect management's assessment of actual future taxes to be paid on items reflected in the consolidated financial statements, giving consideration to both timing and the probability of realization. Actual income taxes could vary from these estimates due to future changes in income tax law, state income tax apportionment or the outcome of any review of our tax returns by the IRS, as well as actual operating results of the Company that vary significantly from anticipated results. We also recognize liabilities for uncertain tax positions based on the two-step process prescribed by the accounting for uncertainty in income taxes. The first step is to evaluate the tax position for recognition by determining if the weight of available evidence indicates it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained on audit, including resolution of related appeals or litigation processes, if any. The second step is to measure the tax benefit as the largest amount which is more than 50% likely of being realized upon ultimate settlement. This measurement step is inherently difficult and requires subjective estimations of such amounts to determine the probability of various possible outcomes. We consider many factors when evaluating and estimating our tax positions and tax benefits, which may require periodic adjustments and which may not accurately anticipate actual outcomes.

    Stock Based Compensation

        As disclosed in Note 3 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company estimated the fair value of options issued in 2008 using a Black-Scholes option pricing model with the following weighted average assumptions: risk-free interest rates of 3.4%, a dividend yield of zero, a volatility factor of 70% and a weighted average expected life of the options of 6.7 years. There were no significant stock options granted by the Company during the years ended December 31, 2010 and 2009. The Company also issues restricted stock units and restricted stock, and the value of the instrument is measured at the grant date as the fair value of common stock and amortized ratably as non-cash compensation expense over the vesting term.

New Accounting Pronouncements

        Refer to Note 2 to the consolidated financial statements for a description of recent accounting pronouncements.

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TREE.COM'S PRINCIPLES OF FINANCIAL REPORTING

        Tree.com reports Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization ("EBITDA"), and adjusted for certain items discussed below ("Adjusted EBITDA"), as supplemental measures to GAAP. These measures are two of the primary metrics by which Tree.com evaluates the performance of its businesses, on which its internal budgets are based and by which management is compensated. Tree.com believes that investors should have access to the same set of tools that it uses in analyzing its results. These non-GAAP measures should be considered in addition to results prepared in accordance with GAAP, but should not be considered a substitute for or superior to GAAP results. Tree.com provides and encourages investors to examine the reconciling adjustments between the GAAP and non-GAAP measure which are discussed below.

Definition of Tree.com's Non-GAAP Measures

        Adjusted EBITDA is defined as EBITDA excluding (1) non-cash compensation expense, (2) non-cash intangible asset impairment charges, (3) gain/loss on disposal of assets, (4) restructuring expenses, (5) litigation settlements and contingencies, (6) pro forma adjustments for significant acquisitions, and (7) one-time items. Adjusted EBITDA has certain limitations in that it does not take into account the impact to Tree.com's statement of operations of certain expenses, including depreciation, non-cash compensation and acquisition related accounting. Tree.com endeavors to compensate for the limitations of the non-GAAP measure presented by also providing the comparable GAAP measure with equal or greater prominence and descriptions of the reconciling items, including quantifying such items, to derive the non-GAAP measure.

Pro Forma Results

        Tree.com will only present EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA on a pro forma basis if it views a particular transaction as significant in size or transformational in nature. For the periods presented in this report, there are no transactions that Tree.com has included on a pro forma basis.

One-Time Items

        EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are presented before one-time items, if applicable. These items are truly one-time in nature and non-recurring, infrequent or unusual, and have not occurred in the past two years or are not expected to recur in the next two years, in accordance with SEC rules. For the periods presented in this report, there are no one-time items.

Non-Cash Expenses That Are Excluded From Tree.com's Non-GAAP Measures

        Non-cash compensation expense consists principally of expense associated with the grants of restricted stock units and stock options. These expenses are not paid in cash, and Tree.com will include the related shares in its future calculations of fully diluted shares outstanding. Upon vesting of restricted stock units and the exercise of certain stock options, the awards will be settled, at Tree.com's discretion, on a net basis, with Tree.com remitting the required tax withholding amount from its current funds.

        Amortization and impairment of intangibles are non-cash expenses relating primarily to acquisitions. At the time of an acquisition, the intangible assets of the acquired company, such as purchase agreements, technology and customer relationships, are valued and amortized over their estimated lives.

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RECONCILIATION OF EBITDA

        For a reconciliation of EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA to operating income (loss) for Tree.com's operating segments and to net loss in total for the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008, see Note 8 to the consolidated financial statements.


OTHER

        REALTORS®—a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.

Item 7A.     Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

Interest Rate Risk

        Tree.com's exposure to market rate risk for changes in interest rates relates primarily to LendingTree Loans' loans held for sale and interest rate lock commitments.

Loans Held for Sale and Interest Rate Lock Commitments

        LendingTree Loans' mortgage banking operations expose the Company to interest rate risk for loans originated until those loans are sold in the secondary market ("loans held for sale"). The fair value of loans held for sale is subject to change primarily due to changes in market interest rates. LendingTree Loans hedges the changes in fair value of certain loans held for sale primarily by entering into "to be announced mortgage-backed securities" ("TBA MBS") and best efforts forward delivery commitments. The changes in fair value of the derivative instruments are recognized in current earnings as a component of revenue.

        In addition, LendingTree Loans provides interest rate lock commitments ("IRLCs") to fund mortgage loans at interest rates previously agreed upon with the borrower for specified periods of time, which also expose it to interest rate risk. IRLCs are considered derivative instruments and, therefore, are recorded at fair value, with changes in fair value reflected in current period earnings. To manage the interest rate risk associated with the IRLCs, the Company uses derivative instruments, including TBA MBS and best efforts forward delivery commitments.

        The fair values of derivative financial instruments at LendingTree Loans are impacted by movements in market interest rates. Changes in the fair value of the derivative financial instruments would substantially be offset by changes in the fair value of the items for which risk is being mitigated. As of December 31, 2010, if market interest rates had increased by 1.00%, the aggregate fair value of the derivative financial instruments and the hedged items at LendingTree Loans would have decreased by $1.0 million. As of December 31, 2010, if market interest rates had decreased by 1.00%, the aggregate fair value of the derivative financial instruments and the hedged items at LendingTree Loans would have decreased by $0.5 million. Valuation techniques are described in Note 10—Fair Value Measurements to the consolidated financial statements.

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Item 8.     Financial Statements and Supplementary Data


Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

To the Board of Directors and Stockholders of
Tree.com, Inc.

        We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Tree.com, Inc. and subsidiaries (the "Company") as of December 31, 2010 and 2009, and the related consolidated statements of operations, shareholders' equity, and cash flows for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2010. Our audits also included the financial statement schedule listed in the Index at Item 15(a). These financial statements and financial statement schedule are the responsibility of the Company's management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these financial statements and financial statement schedule based on our audits.

        We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement. An audit includes examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. An audit also includes assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

        In our opinion, such consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Tree.com, Inc. and subsidiaries at December 31, 2010 and 2009, and the results of their operations and their cash flows for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2010, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. Also, in our opinion, such financial statement schedule, when considered in relation to the basic consolidated financial statements taken as a whole, presents fairly, in all material respects, the information set forth therein.

        As discussed in Note 2 to the consolidated financial statements, beginning January 1, 2009, the Company adopted a new accounting standard for business combinations.

                        /s/ Deloitte and Touche LLP

Charlotte, North Carolina
February 28, 2011

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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

The Board of Directors and Shareholders of
Tree.com, Inc. and subsidiaries

        We have audited the accompanying consolidated statements of operations, shareholders' equity, and cash flows of Tree.com, Inc. and subsidiaries for the year ended December 31, 2008. Our audit also included the financial statement schedule listed in the Index at Item 15(a). These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company's management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these financial statements based on our audit.

        We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement. An audit includes examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. An audit also includes assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.

        In our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the consolidated results of Tree.com, Inc. and subsidiaries' operations and their cash flows for the year ended December 31, 2008, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. Also, in our opinion, the related financial statement schedule, when considered in relation to the basic consolidated financial statements taken as a whole, presents fairly in all material respects the information set forth therein.

                        /s/ Ernst & Young LLP

Los Angeles, California
February 26, 2009

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TREE.COM, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

 
  Year Ended December 31,  
 
  2010   2009   2008  
 
  (In thousands, except per share amounts)
 

Revenue

                   
   

LendingTree Loans

  $ 124,180   $ 117,670   $ 97,929  
   

Exchanges and other

    59,918     70,660     94,716  
   

Real Estate

    14,083     28,445     35,927  
               
 

Total revenue

    198,181     216,775     228,572  

Cost of revenue

                   
   

LendingTree Loans

    44,056     48,998     44,406  
   

Exchanges and other

    4,980     7,716     11,098  
   

Real Estate

    9,028     18,046     21,293  
               
 

Total cost of revenue (exclusive of depreciation shown separately below)

    58,064     74,760     76,797  
               
 

Gross margin

    140,117     142,015     151,775  

Operating expenses

                   
 

Selling and marketing expense

    74,074     61,957     97,109  
 

General and administrative expense

    54,682     64,901     72,932  
 

Product development

    4,155     5,962     6,705  
 

Litigation settlements and contingencies

    2,108     13,208     1,995  
 

Restructuring expense

    3,469     2,690     5,704  
 

Amortization of intangibles

    2,716     4,847     10,983  
 

Depreciation

    6,160     6,666     7,042  
 

Asset impairments

    10,809     6,097     164,335  
               
   

Total operating expenses

    158,173     166,328     366,805  
               
   

Operating loss

    (18,056 )   (24,313 )   (215,030 )

Other income (expense)

                   
 

Interest income

    8     88     134  
 

Interest expense

    (473 )   (617 )   (650 )
 

Other income (expense)

            (4 )
               

Total other expense, net

    (465 )   (529 )   (520 )
               

Loss before income taxes

    (18,521 )   (24,842 )   (215,550 )

Income tax benefit

    936     368     13,274  
               

Net loss

  $ (17,585 ) $ (24,474 ) $ (202,276 )
               

Weighted average common shares outstanding

    11,014     10,536     9,368  
               

Net loss per share available to common shareholders

                   
 

Basic

  $ (1.60 ) $ (2.32 ) $ (21.59 )
               
 

Diluted

  $ (1.60 ) $ (2.32 ) $ (21.59 )
               

The accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements are an integral part of these statements.

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TREE.COM, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

 
  December 31, 2010   December 31, 2009  
 
  (In thousands, except par value
and share amounts)

 

ASSETS:

             
 

Cash and cash equivalents

  $ 68,819   $ 86,093  
 

Restricted cash and cash equivalents

    10,699     12,019  
 

Accounts receivable, net of allowance of $213 and $518, respectively

    4,305     6,835  
 

Loans held for sale ($115,908 and $92,236 measured at fair value, respectively)

    116,681     93,596  
 

Prepaid and other current assets

    11,778     10,758  
           
   

Total current assets

    212,282     209,301  
 

Property and equipment, net

    12,795     12,257  
 

Goodwill

    11,599     12,152  
 

Intangible assets, net

    45,419     57,626  
 

Other non-current assets

    707     496  
           
   

Total assets

  $ 282,802   $ 291,832  
           

LIABILITIES:

             
 

Warehouse lines of credit

  $ 100,623   $ 78,481  
 

Accounts payable, trade

    7,387     5,905  
 

Deferred revenue

    1,540     1,731  
 

Deferred income taxes

    2,358     2,211  
 

Accrued expenses and other current liabilities

    39,425     54,694  
           
   

Total current liabilities

    151,333     143,022  
 

Income taxes payable

    96     510  
 

Other long-term liabilities

    15,590     12,010  
 

Deferred income taxes

    13,962     15,380  
           
   

Total liabilities

    180,981     170,922  
 

Commitments and contingencies (Notes 14 and 15)

             

SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY:

             
 

Preferred stock $.01 par value; authorized 5,000,000 shares; none issued or outstanding

         
 

Common stock $.01 par value; authorized 50,000,000 shares; issued 11,893,468 and 10,904,330 shares, respectively, and outstanding 10,770,207 and 10,904,330 shares, respectively

    118     109  
 

Additional paid-in capital

    908,837     901,818  
 

Accumulated deficit

    (798,602 )   (781,017 )
 

Treasury stock 1,123,261 and -0- shares, respectively

    (8,532 )    
           
   

Total shareholders' equity

    101,821     120,910  
           
   

Total liabilities and shareholders' equity

  $ 282,802   $ 291,832  
           

The accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements are an integral part of these statements.

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TREE.COM, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY

 
   
   
  Common Stock    
   
   
  Treasury Stock  
 
  Total   Invested
Capital
  Number
of Shares
  Amount   Additional
Paid-in
Capital
  Payables to
IAC and
Subsidiaries
  Accumulated
Deficit
  Number
of Shares
  Amount  
 
  (In thousands)
 

Balance as of December 31, 2007

  $ 214,624   $ 751,923       $   $   $ 20,067   $ (557,366 )     $  

Comprehensive loss:

                                                       
 

Net loss for the year ended December 31, 2008

    (202,276 )                       (202,276 )        
                                                       

Comprehensive loss

    (202,276 )                                

Cumulative effect of adoption of a change in accounting principle

    3,099                         3,099          

Non-cash compensation

    11,237                 11,237                  

Spin-off contribution from IAC, net of invested capital and extinguishment of intercompany amounts

    111,423     (751,923 )           883,413     (20,067 )            

Issuance of common stock upon spin off

    94         9,367     94                      

Issuance of common stock upon exercise of stock options and vesting of restricted stock units, net of withholding taxes

    11         2         11                  

Restricted stock units payable in cash

    (84 )               (84 )                
                                       

Balance as of December 31, 2008

    138,128         9,369     94     894,577         (756,543 )        

Comprehensive loss:

                                                       
 

Net loss for the year ended December 31, 2009

    (24,474 )                       (24,474 )        
                                                       

Comprehensive loss

    (24,474 )                                

Non-cash compensation

    3,892                 3,892                  

Issuance of common stock

    3,636         935     9     3,627                  

Issuance of common stock upon exercise of stock options and vesting of restricted stock units, net of withholding taxes

    (272 )       250     3     (275 )                

Issuance of restricted stock

            350     3     (3 )                
                                       

Balance as of December 31, 2009

    120,910         10,904     109     901,818         (781,017 )        

Comprehensive loss:

                                                       
 

Net loss for the year ended December 31, 2010

    (17,585 )                       (17,585 )        
                                                       

Comprehensive loss

    (17,585 )                                

Non-cash compensation

    3,640                 3,640                  

Issuance of common stock upon exercise of stock options and vesting of restricted stock units, net of withholding taxes

    (570 )       304     3     (573 )                

Issuance of restricted stock

            150     1     (1 )                

Exchange of preferred stock issued by a subsidiary to common stock issued by parent

    3,958         535     5     3,953                  

Purchase of treasury stock

    (8,532 )                           1,123     (8,532 )
                                       

Balance as of December 31, 2010

  $ 101,821   $     11,893   $ 118   $ 908,837   $   $ (798,602 )   1,123   $ (8,532 )
                                       

The accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements are an integral part of these statements.

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TREE.COM, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

 
  Year Ended December 31,  
 
  2010   2009   2008  
 
  (In thousands)
 

Cash flows from operating activities:

                   

Net loss

  $ (17,585 ) $ (24,474 ) $ (202,276 )

Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash provided by (used in) operating activities:

                   
 

Loss on disposal of fixed assets

    356     1,123      
 

Amortization of intangibles

    2,716     4,847     10,983  
 

Depreciation

    6,160     6,666     7,042  
 

Intangible impairment

    9,491     6,097     33,378  
 

Goodwill impairment

    1,318         130,957  
 

Non-cash compensation expense

    3,640     3,892     11,237  
 

Non-cash restructuring expense

    307     1,191     1,260  
 

Deferred income taxes

    (1,270 )   (382 )   (13,274 )
 

Gain on origination and sale of loans

    (113,425 )   (110,320 )   (88,968 )
 

Loss on impaired loans not sold

    128     647     361  
 

Loss on real estate acquired in satisfaction of loans

    406     51     218  
 

Bad debt expense

    10     422     597  
 

Non-cash interest expense

            76  

Changes in current assets and liabilities:

                   
 

Accounts receivable

    2,520     (23 )   4,605  
 

Origination of loans

    (2,792,041 )   (2,855,246 )   (2,206,065 )
 

Proceeds from sales of loans

    2,892,070     2,969,658     2,291,022  
 

Principal payments received on loans

    2,356     1,422     911  
 

Payments to investors for loan repurchases, settlements and early payoff obligations

    (12,154 )   (8,742 )   (4,568 )
 

Prepaid and other current assets

    (79 )   (680 )   3,775  
 

Accounts payable and other current liabilities

    (10,481 )   15,097     (23,329 )
 

Income taxes payable

    (278 )   (402 )   329  
 

Deferred revenue

    (350 )   151     (519 )
 

Restricted cash

    (820 )   722     348  
 

Other, net

    2,027     1,500     (20 )
               

Net cash (used in) provided by operating activities

    (24,978 )   13,217     (41,920 )
               

Cash flows from investing activities:

                   
 

Contingent acquisition consideration

            (14,487 )
 

Acquisitions

    (250 )   (5,726 )    
 

Capital expenditures

    (7,226 )   (3,865 )   (4,131 )
 

Restricted cash

    2,191     4,060     (143 )
 

Other, net

        (20 )    
               

Net cash used in investing activities

    (5,285 )   (5,551 )   (18,761 )
               

Cash flows from financing activities:

                   
 

Borrowing under warehouse lines of credit

    1,864,905     2,475,106     1,993,938  
 

Repayments of warehouse lines of credit

    (1,842,764 )   (2,472,811 )   (1,997,179 )
 

Principal payments on long-term obligations

            (20,045 )
 

Spin-off capital contributions from IAC

            111,517  
 

Issuance of common stock, net of withholding taxes

    (570 )   3,364     11  
 

Excess tax benefits from stock-based awards

            393  
 

Purchase of treasury stock

    (8,532 )        
 

Restricted cash

    (50 )   (875 )   (251 )
               

Net cash provided by financing activities

    12,989     4,784     88,384  
               

Net (decrease) increase in cash and cash equivalents

    (17,274 )   12,450     27,703  

Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period

    86,093     73,643     45,940  
               

Cash and cash equivalents at end of period

  $ 68,819   $ 86,093   $ 73,643  
               

The accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements are an integral part of these statements.

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TREE.COM, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

NOTE 1—ORGANIZATION

Spin-Off

        On August 20, 2008, Tree.com, Inc. ("Tree.com" or the "Company") was spun off from its parent company, IAC/InterActiveCorp ("IAC") into a separate publicly traded company. In these consolidated financial statements, we refer to the separation transaction as the "spin-off." In connection with the spin-off, Tree.com was incorporated as a Delaware corporation in April 2008. Tree.com consists of the businesses that formerly comprised IAC's Lending and Real Estate segments as well as newly acquired or developed brands and businesses. We refer herein to these businesses as the "Tree.com Businesses" as more fully described in the Company Overview below.

        In conjunction with the spin-off, Tree.com completed the following transactions: (1) extinguished all intercompany payable balances with IAC, which totaled $56.2 million, by recording a non-cash contribution from IAC, (2) recapitalized the invested capital balances with common stock in the amount of $0.1 million, whereby holders of IAC stock received one-thirtieth of a share of common stock of Tree.com, and (3) received $55.2 million of cash from IAC.

Basis of Presentation

        The historical consolidated financial statements of Tree.com and its subsidiaries reflect the contribution or other transfer to Tree.com of all of the subsidiaries and assets and the assumption by Tree.com of all of the liabilities relating to the Tree.com Businesses in connection with the spin-off and the allocation to Tree.com of certain IAC corporate expenses relating to the Tree.com Businesses. Accordingly, the historical consolidated financial statements of Tree.com reflect the historical financial position, results of operations and cash flows of the Tree.com Businesses since their respective dates of acquisition by IAC, based on the historical consolidated financial statements and accounting records of IAC and using the historical results of operations and historical bases of the assets and liabilities of the Tree.com Businesses with the exception of accounting for income taxes. For purposes of these financial statements, income taxes have been computed for Tree.com on an as if stand-alone, separate tax return basis. Intercompany transactions and accounts have been eliminated.

        In the opinion of Tree.com's management, the assumptions underlying the historical consolidated financial statements of Tree.com are reasonable. However, this financial information does not necessarily reflect what the historical financial position, results of operations and cash flows of Tree.com would have been had Tree.com been a stand-alone company during the periods presented.

Company Overview

    LendingTree Loans

        The LendingTree Loans segment originates, processes, approves and funds various residential real estate loans through Home Loan Center, Inc. dba LendingTree Loans ("HLC"). The HLC and LendingTree Loans brand names are collectively referred to in these consolidated financial statements as "LendingTree Loans."

    Exchanges

        The Exchanges segment consists of online lead generation networks and call centers that connect consumers and service providers principally in the lending, higher education, home services, insurance and automobile marketplaces.

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TREE.COM, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (Continued)

NOTE 1—ORGANIZATION (Continued)

    Real Estate

        The Real Estate segment consists of a proprietary full service real estate brokerage (RealEstate.com, REALTORS®) that operates in 20 U.S. markets as of December 31, 2010, as well as an online lead generation network accessed at www.RealEstate.com , that connects consumers with third party real estate brokerages around the country. In January and February of 2011, the Company closed 5 brokerage markets that were unprofitable, and we anticipate closing 2 additional unprofitable brokerage markets in March 2011. The Company is continuing to evaluate the future profitability of all brokerage markets as part of aligning our cost structure with revenue opportunities.

Business Combinations

        In 2010, Tree.com purchased certain assets of a company with an aggregate purchase price of $0.8 million in cash and contingent consideration. The contingent consideration amount is based on a percentage of estimated cumulative earnings over a period of thirty-six months from the date of acquisition. The minimum payout under the arrangement is zero and the maximum payout is unlimited. There have been no changes in the amount recognized or in the range of payouts since the date of acquisition. The purchase is part of our strategic initiative to diversify our revenue streams outside of the mortgage and real estate industries.

        In 2009, Tree.com purchased certain assets of four separate companies, with an aggregate purchase price of $5.7 million in cash and $1.0 million in contingent consideration. The contingent consideration relates to one of the purchases, and the amount is based on a percentage of estimated cumulative earnings over a period of thirty-six months from the date of acquisition. The minimum payout under the arrangement is zero and the maximum payout is unlimited. In 2010, there was a reduction of $0.8 million in the amount recognized since the date of acquisition. All four transactions are part of our strategic initiative to diversify our revenue streams outside of the mortgage and real estate industries.

        These asset purchases are being accounted for under the acquisition method of accounting. Accordingly, the purchase price is allocated to the acquired assets and liabilities based on their estimated fair values at the acquisition date. The purchase price for acquisitions in 2010 has been allocated resulting in $0.8 million to be accounted for as goodwill in the Exchanges segment. The purchase price of the 2009 purchases has been allocated as $3.9 million to intangible assets with useful lives of five months to thirteen years and $2.9 million to goodwill, all of which are recorded in the Exchanges segment. For the 2009 purchases, the goodwill recognized primarily relates to synergies of the combined organizations and intangible assets that do not qualify for separate recognition.

        The pro forma effect of these 2010 and 2009 purchases were not material to our results of operations.

        In November 2010, LendingTree Loans entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement with First Residential Mortgage Network, Inc. dba SurePoint Lending ("SurePoint") and the shareholders of SurePoint. The Agreement provides for the purchase by LendingTree Loans of certain specified assets and liabilities of SurePoint. The acquired assets also include all of the equity interests of Real Estate Title Services, LLC. Under the terms of the Agreement, LendingTree Loans will make an initial payment of approximately $6 million in cash upon the closing of the transaction and will make contingent consideration payments on an annual basis for the next thirty-six months based on

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TREE.COM, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (Continued)

NOTE 1—ORGANIZATION (Continued)


LendingTree Loans' pre-tax net income derived from the assets acquired. The aggregate purchase price, including the initial payment and contingent consideration, shall not exceed $23 million. The Company expects to use available cash to fund the acquisition. The transaction is projected to close in March 2011.

NOTE 2—SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES

Consolidation

        The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the Company and all entities that are wholly-owned by the Company. Intercompany transactions and accounts have been eliminated.

Reclassifications

        Certain prior period amounts have been reclassified to conform with the current presentation with no effect on net loss or accumulated deficit. Specifically, compensation and other-employee related costs within the Exchanges segment totaling $1.7 million and $3.2 million for the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008, respectively, were reclassified from the Exchanges segment to the LendingTree Loans segment, both within cost of revenue. There was no impact on the consolidated financial results.

Revenue Recognition

    LendingTree Loans

        LendingTree Loans' revenues are primarily derived from the origination and sale of mortgage loans. Loans are funded through warehouse lines of credit and are sold to investors, typically within thirty days. The gain or loss on the sale of loans is realized on the date the loans are sold. The Company sells its loans on a servicing released basis in which the Company gives up the right to service the loans.

        Loans are recorded at fair value at the time of origination. Changes in the fair value of loans are recorded through revenue prior to the sale of the loans to investors. At the time of sale, any difference between the estimated fair value of the loan and the sales price is recorded as an adjustment to the gain.

        Loans funded prior to January 1, 2008 are carried at the lower of cost or market value determined on an aggregate basis except for loans that are impaired, which are assessed on an individual basis. Loans are deemed impaired when they have a significant defect impacting the ability of the Company to sell the loan and recoup substantially all of the balance due. Loan origination fees and certain direct costs related to the origination of loans prior to January 1, 2008 were capitalized and deferred until the loans were sold. Upon sale of the loans, the origination fees and costs were recognized as a component of the gain on sale of loans.

    Exchanges

        Exchange revenue principally represents match fees and closed-loan fees paid by lenders that received a transmitted loan request or closed a loan for a consumer that originated through one of LendingTree's websites or affiliates. Exchange revenue also includes match fees paid by institutions of

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higher education and professionals in the home services, insurance and automobile industries for a transmitted lead or service request. Match fees are recognized at the time qualification forms are transmitted, while closed-loan fees are recognized at the time the lender reports the closed loan to LendingTree, which may be several months after the loan request is transmitted.

    Real Estate

        Real Estate earns revenue from commissions paid by consumers for our agents closing a real estate transaction on their behalf and from cooperative brokerage fees paid by real estate professionals participating on its exchange. Commissions are recognized at the time the real estate transaction is closed. Cooperative brokerage fees are recognized when the transmission of a consumer's information results in the purchase or sale of a home and the transaction is reported closed by the participating real estate professional.

Cash and Cash Equivalents

        Cash and cash equivalents include cash and short-term, highly liquid money market investments.

Restricted Cash

        Restricted cash and cash equivalents consists of the following (in thousands):

 
  December 31,
2010
  December 31,
2009
 

Cash in escrow for future operating lease commitments

  $   $ 788  

Cash in escrow for surety bonds

    5,030     5,030  

Cash in escrow for corporate purchasing card program

    800     2,203  

Minimum required balances for warehouse lines of credit

    1,925     1,875  

Mortgage lending escrow funds

    2,394     1,291  

Other

    550     832  
           
 

Total restricted cash and cash equivalents

  $ 10,699   $ 12,019  
           

Accounts Receivable

        Accounts receivable are stated at amounts due from customers, net of an allowance for doubtful accounts.

        Accounts receivable outstanding longer than the contractual payment terms are considered past due. The Company determines its allowance for doubtful accounts by considering a number of factors, including the length of time accounts receivable are past due, the Company's previous loss history, the specific customer's current ability to pay its obligation to the Company and the condition of the general economy and the customer's industry as a whole. The Company writes off accounts receivable when management deems them uncollectible. Write-offs were $0.4 million, $0.3 million and $0.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008, respectively.

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Loans Held for Sale

        LendingTree Loans originates all of its residential real estate loans with the intent to sell them in the secondary market. Loans held for sale consist primarily of residential first and second mortgage loans that are secured by residential real estate throughout the United States.

        Loans held for sale are recorded at fair value, with the exception of any loans that have been repurchased from investors or loans originated prior to January 1, 2008 on which we did not elect the fair value option. As of December 31, 2010 and 2009, $0.8 million and $1.4 million, respectively, of such loans were impaired and carried on the balance sheet at the lower of cost or market value assessed on an individual loan basis.

        The fair value of loans held for sale is determined using current secondary market prices for loans with similar coupons, maturities and credit quality. Loans held for sale are pledged as collateral under LendingTree Loans' warehouse lines of credit. LendingTree Loans relies substantially on the secondary mortgage market as all of the loans originated are sold into this market.

        Prior to August 2010, fees received from borrowers for a commitment to originate a mortgage loan at a specified rate (interest rate lock commitment or "IRLC") were deferred. Such fees are generally credited toward loan origination fees when the loan is funded or recognized as income upon expiration of the commitment in the case of unexercised commitments. Effective August 2010, the Company no longer collects commitment fees for IRLCs.

        Interest on mortgage loans held for sale is recognized as earned and is only accrued if deemed collectible. Interest is generally deemed uncollectible when a loan becomes three months or more delinquent or when a loan has a defect affecting its salability. Delinquency is calculated based on the contractual due date of the loan. Loans are written off when deemed uncollectible.

Loan Loss Obligations

        LendingTree Loans sells loans it originates to investors on a servicing released basis and the risk of loss or default by the borrower is generally transferred to the investor. However, LendingTree Loans is required by these investors to make certain representations relating to credit information, loan documentation and collateral. To the extent LendingTree Loans does not comply with such representations or there are early payment defaults, LendingTree Loans may be required to repurchase loans or indemnify the investors for any losses from borrower defaults. The Company initially records the liability for this obligation at fair value as a reduction in revenue. Subsequently, LendingTree Loans maintains a liability for the estimated obligation related to this exposure based, in part, on historical and projected loss frequency and loss severity using its loan loss history (adjusted for recent trends in loan loss experience as well as market pricing information on loans repurchased), the original principal amount of the loans previously sold, the year the loans were sold, and loan type. There are four loan types used in this analysis that are determined based on the extent of the documentation received (full or limited) and the lien position of the mortgage in the underling property (first or second position). In the case of early payoffs, which occur when a borrower prepays a loan prior to the end of a specified period, LendingTree Loans may be required to repay all or a portion of the premium initially paid by the investor. The estimated obligation associated with early payoffs is calculated based on historical loss experience by loan type.

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Real Estate Properties Acquired in Satisfaction of Loans

        Real estate properties acquired in satisfaction of loans are recorded at the lower of carrying amount or estimated fair value less selling costs on their acquisition dates. Subsequent write-downs, costs to maintain the property, and gains or losses realized upon disposition are included in operating expenses in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations.

Property and Equipment

        Property and equipment, including significant improvements, are recorded at cost less accumulated depreciation. Repairs and maintenance and any gains or losses on dispositions are included in operations.

        Depreciation is recorded on a straight-line basis to allocate the cost of depreciable assets to operations over their estimated service lives. Amortization of assets recorded under capital leases is included in depreciation expense. The following table presents the depreciation period for each asset category:

Asset Category
  Depreciation Period
Computer equipment and capitalized software   1 to 5 years
Leasehold improvements   Lesser of asset life
or life of lease
Furniture and other equipment   3 to 7 years

Software Development Costs

        Software development costs primarily include expenses incurred to develop the software that powers our websites. Certain costs incurred during the application development stage are capitalized based on specific activities tracked on internal timesheets and external invoices (or timesheets), while costs incurred during the preliminary project stage and post-implementation/operation stage are expensed as incurred. Capitalized software development costs are amortized over estimated lives of one to three years.

Goodwill and Indefinite-Lived Intangible Assets

        Goodwill acquired in business combinations is assigned to the reporting units that are expected to benefit from the combination as of the acquisition date.

        Goodwill impairment is determined using a two-step process. The first step of the process is to compare the fair value of a reporting unit with its carrying amount, including goodwill. In performing the first step, Tree.com determines the fair value of its reporting units by using a discounted cash flow ("DCF") analysis. Determining fair value using a DCF analysis requires the exercise of significant judgments, including judgments about appropriate discount rates, perpetual growth rates and the amount and timing of expected future cash flows. If the fair value of a reporting unit exceeds its carrying amount, goodwill of the reporting unit is not impaired and the second step of the impairment test is not required. If the carrying amount of a reporting unit exceeds its fair value, the second step of the goodwill impairment test is required to be performed to measure the amount of impairment, if any. The second step of the goodwill impairment test compares the implied fair value of the reporting unit's

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goodwill with the carrying amount of that goodwill. The implied fair value of goodwill is determined in the same manner as the amount of goodwill recognized in a business combination. If the carrying amount of the reporting unit's goodwill exceeds the implied fair value of that goodwill, an impairment loss is recognized in an amount equal to that excess.

        The impairment test for indefinite-lived intangible assets involves a comparison of the estimated fair value of the intangible asset with its carrying value. If the carrying value of the indefinite-lived intangible asset exceeds its fair value, an impairment loss is recognized in an amount equal to that excess. The estimates of fair value of indefinite-lived intangible assets are determined using a DCF valuation analysis that employs a "relief from royalty" methodology in estimating the fair value of its trade names and trademarks. Significant judgments inherent in this analysis include the determination of royalty rates, discount rates and the terminal growth rates.

        Goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets, primarily trade names and trademarks, are tested annually for impairment as of October 1 or earlier upon the occurrence of certain events or substantive changes in circumstances. In light of the substantive changes in the mortgage and real estate markets and significant changes in leadership and operational focus in the real estate segment, Tree.com performed interim tests as of June 30, 2009, in addition to the annual test on October 1, 2010 and 2009. Tree.com identified impairments in the interim test in 2009, and in the annual tests in 2010 and 2009, as described in Note 4.

Long-Lived Assets and Intangible Assets with Definite Lives

        Long-lived assets, including property and equipment and intangible assets with definite lives, are tested for recoverability whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that their carrying amount may not be recoverable. The carrying amount of a long-lived asset is not recoverable if it exceeds the sum of the undiscounted cash flows expected to result from the use and eventual disposition of the asset. If the carrying amount is deemed to not be recoverable, an impairment loss is recorded as the amount by which the carrying amount of the long-lived asset exceeds its fair value. Amortization of definite lived intangible assets is recorded on a straight-line basis over their estimated lives.

Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities

        Tree.com is exposed to certain risks in connection with its mortgage banking operations. LendingTree Loans is exposed to interest rate risk for loans it originates until those loans are sold in the secondary market. The fair value of interest rate lock commitments ("IRLCs") and loans held for sale are subject to change primarily due to changes in market interest rates. LendingTree Loans economically hedges the changes in fair value of IRLCs and loans held for sale primarily by using derivative instruments that are fully described in Note 10.

Cost of Revenue

        Cost of revenue consists primarily of costs associated with loan originations, compensation and other employee-related costs (including stock-based compensation) related to customer call centers and real estate network support staff and loan officers, as well as credit scoring fees, consumer incentive costs, real estate agent commissions and website network hosting and server fees.

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NOTE 2—SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES (Continued)

Consumer Promotional Costs

        The Company offers certain consumers that utilize our exchange services promotional incentives to complete a transaction. These include cash payments, gift certificates, airline miles or other discounts or coupons in the event a transaction is completed utilizing our services. The liability is estimated for these consumer promotional costs each period based on the number of consumers that are presented such offers, the cost of the item being offered and the historical trends of consumers qualifying for the offer and our payout rates. The estimated costs of the consumer promotional incentives are charged to cost of revenue each period. Consumer promotional expense was $1.3 million, $3.6 million, and $9.4 million for the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008, respectively. Consumer promotional costs accrued totaled $0.6 million at both December 31, 2010 and 2009, and are included in accrued expenses and other current liabilities in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets.

Product Development

        Product development expense consists primarily of compensation and other employee-related costs (including stock-based compensation) for personnel engaged in product development, which include costs related to the design, development, testing and enhancement of technology that are not capitalized.

Advertising

        Advertising costs are expensed in the period incurred (when the advertisement first runs for production costs that are initially capitalized) and principally represent offline costs, including television, print and radio advertising, and online advertising costs, including fees paid to search engines and distribution partners. Advertising expense was $69.8 million, $57.9 million, and $92.0 million for the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008, respectively. There was no prepaid advertising at December 31, 2010 or 2009.

Income Taxes

        Tree.com accounts for income taxes under the liability method, and deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases. In estimating future tax consequences, all expected future events are considered. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates in effect for the year in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. A valuation allowance is provided on deferred tax assets if it is determined that it is more likely than not that the deferred tax asset will not be realized. Tree.com records interest on potential tax contingencies as a component of income tax expense and records interest net of any applicable related income tax benefit.

        In accordance with the accounting standard for uncertainty in income taxes, Tree.com recognizes liabilities for uncertain tax positions based on the two-step process prescribed by the accounting standards. The first step is to evaluate the tax position for recognition by determining if the weight of available evidence indicates it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained on audit, including resolution of related appeals or litigation processes, if any. The second step is to measure the

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tax benefit as the largest amount which is more than 50% likely of being realized upon ultimate settlement.

Stock-Based Compensation

        Tree.com records stock-based compensation in accordance with the accounting standard for share based payments. See Note 3 for further information.

Accounting Estimates

        Tree.com's management is required to make certain estimates and assumptions during the preparation of the consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. These estimates and assumptions impact the reported amount of assets and liabilities and disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities as of the date of the consolidated financial statements. They also impact the reported amount of net earnings during any period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.

        Significant estimates underlying the accompanying consolidated financial statements include: valuation allowance for impaired loans held for sale; loan loss obligations; the fair value of loans held for sale and related derivatives; the recoverability of long-lived assets, goodwill and intangible assets; the determination of income taxes payable and deferred income taxes, including related valuation allowances; restructuring reserves; contingent consideration related to business combinations; various other allowances, reserves and accruals; and assumptions related to the determination of stock-based compensation.

Certain Risks and Concentrations

        Tree.com's business is subject to certain risks and concentrations including dependence on third party technology providers, exposure to risks associated with online commerce security and credit card fraud.

        Financial instruments, which potentially subject Tree.com to concentration of credit risk, consist primarily of cash and cash equivalents. Cash and cash equivalents are maintained with quality financial institutions of high credit and are in excess of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insurance limits.

        Due to the nature of the mortgage lending industry, changes in interest rates may significantly impact revenue from originating mortgages and subsequent sales of loans to investors, which are the primary source of income for LendingTree Loans. LendingTree Loans originates mortgage loans on property located throughout the United States, with revenue from loans originated for property located in California totaling approximately 12%, 11%, and 5% of Tree.com's consolidated revenue in 2010, 2009 and 2008, respectively.

        LendingTree Loans monitors its relationships with investors and, from time to time, makes adjustments in the amount it sells to any one investor based upon a number of factors, including but not limited to, price, loan review time and funding turnaround, underwriting guidelines and the overall efficiency of its relationship with the investor.

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NOTE 2—SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES (Continued)

        The following table represents the approximate percentage of Tree.com's revenue for LendingTree Loan's four largest investors (purchasers of the loans originated) for the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008:

 
  Years Ended December 31,  
 
  2010   2009   2008  

Investor 1

    25 %   11 %   8 %

Investor 2

    24 %   25 %   12 %

Investor 3

    11 %   13 %   8 %

Investor 4

    %   5 %   11 %

        LendingTree Loans funds loans through warehouse lines of credit. As of December 31, 2010 and 2009, 68% and 56%, respectively, of the total balance due on the lines of credit was payable to one lender. The decision regarding how to allocate this balance amongst lenders is based on several factors, including the interest rate and commitment fee.

        Due to the nature of the mortgage lending industry, interest rate increases may negatively impact future revenue from our lending networks as well as revenue from originating and selling loans.

        Further, lenders participating on our lending networks can offer their products directly to consumers through brokers, mass marketing campaigns, or through other traditional methods of credit distribution. These lenders can also offer their products online, either directly to prospective borrowers, through one or more of our online competitors, or both. If a significant number of potential consumers are able to obtain loans from our participating lenders without utilizing our service, our ability to generate revenue may be limited. Because we do not have exclusive relationships with the lenders whose loan offerings are offered on our online marketplace, consumers may obtain offers and loans from these lenders without using our service.

        The Company maintains operations solely in the United States.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

        On July 1, 2009, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") issued guidance with the objective of establishing the Accounting Standards Codification as the source of authoritative nongovernmental GAAP. All existing accounting standards have been superseded and all other accounting literature not included in the codification will be considered non-authoritative. Accordingly, all references to accounting standards have been conformed to the new codification hierarchy.

        On January 1, 2010, Tree.com adopted the accounting standard for transfers and servicing of financial assets, with no material impact to the financials. The objective is to improve relevance, representational faithfulness, and comparability of the information that a reporting entity provides in its financial statements about a transfer of financial assets; the effects of a transfer on its financial position, financial performance, and cash flows; and a transferor's continuing involvement, if any, in transferred financial assets. This standard is effective for annual reporting periods beginning after November 15, 2009.

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        On January 21, 2010, the FASB amended and Tree.com adopted the accounting standard for fair value measurements and disclosures, which added new requirements for disclosures about transfers into and out of Level 1 and 2 and separate disclosures about purchases, sales, issuances and settlements relating to Level 3 measurements. The amendment also clarifies existing fair value disclosures about the level of disaggregation and the inputs and valuation techniques used to measure fair value. This amendment is effective for the first reporting period (including interim periods) beginning after December 15, 2009, except for the requirement to provide the Level 3 activity of purchases, sales, issuances and settlements on a gross basis, which will be effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2010, and for interim periods within those fiscal years. Early adoption is permitted. See Note 10 for further information.

        On January 1, 2009, Tree.com adopted the accounting standard for business combinations, which establishes principles and requirements for how an acquirer recognizes and measures in its financial statements the identifiable assets acquired, the liabilities assumed, any non-controlling interest in the acquiree and the goodwill acquired. This standard also establishes disclosure requirements that will enable users to evaluate the nature and financial effects of the business combination. The standard applies prospectively to business combinations in fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2008. The Company applied this standard to its business combinations made subsequent to January 1, 2009. See Note 1 for further information.

        On January 1, 2009, Tree.com adopted the updated accounting standard for derivatives and hedging. This standard amends and expands the existing disclosure requirements with the intent to provide users of financial statements with an enhanced understanding of: (i) how and why an entity uses derivative instruments; (ii) how derivative instruments and related hedged items are accounted for; and (iii) how derivative instruments and related hedged items affect an entity's financial position, financial performance and cash flows. The adoption of this standard did not have a material impact on the Company's consolidated financial statements. See Note 10 for further information.

        On April 9, 2009, the FASB issued and Tree.com adopted the updated accounting standards for financial instruments and interim reporting. The new standards require disclosures about fair value of financial instruments for interim reporting periods of publicly traded companies as well as in annual financial statements. The new standards also require those disclosures in summarized financial information at interim reporting periods. See Note 10 for further information.

        In February 2007, the FASB issued the accounting standard for the fair value option for financial assets and financial liabilities. The standard permits entities to choose to measure many financial instruments and certain other assets and liabilities at fair value with the objective of reducing both the complexity in the accounting for financial instruments and the volatility in earnings caused by measuring related assets and liabilities differently. This standard is effective for fiscal years beginning after November 15, 2007. Tree.com adopted this standard effective January 1, 2008 and elected the fair value option on loans funded after December 31, 2007. Therefore, there was no cumulative effect related to the adoption of this standard.

        In September 2006, the FASB issued the accounting standard for fair value measurements, which provides enhanced guidance for using fair value to measure assets and liabilities. This standard is effective for fiscal years beginning after November 15, 2007, and interim periods within those fiscal years. This standard defines fair value, establishes a framework for measuring fair value and expands disclosures about fair value measurements and the effect of the measurements on earnings or changes

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in net assets. Among other things, this standard clarifies the principle that fair value should be based on the assumptions that market participants would use when pricing the asset or liability and establishes a fair value hierarchy that prioritizes the information used to develop those assumptions. The most significant financial impact of adopting the provisions of this standard is related to the valuing of interest rate lock commitments (related to loans intended to be held for sale). Under this standard, the fair value of a closed loan includes the embedded cash flows that are ultimately realized as servicing value or through the sale of a loan on a servicing released basis. The valuation of loan commitments includes assumptions related to the likelihood that a commitment will ultimately result in a closed loan ("expected close rates"). These expected close rates are based on Tree.com's historical data, which is a significant unobservable assumption. Prior accounting requirements precluded the recognition of any day one gains and losses if fair value was not based on observable market data. Rather, these gains and losses were recognized when the underlying loan was ultimately sold. The change in valuation methodology under this standard accelerates the recognition of these day one gains and losses. The cumulative effect of adopting the provisions of this standard is required to be reported as an adjustment to beginning retained earnings in the year of adoption. Accordingly, upon adoption of this standard on January 1, 2008, Tree.com recorded a $3.1 million reduction to accumulated deficit.

        The adoption of the fair value accounting standards above generally results in higher fair values of interest rate lock commitments and loans held for sale being recorded at loan origination. Prior to adoption certain aspects of the loan value associated with the cash flows related to the servicing of a loan, origination fees and day one gains on derivative transactions would be deferred until the sale of the loan. However, as loans are typically sold within thirty days of origination, Tree.com has determined that adoption of the above mentioned accounting standards did not have a material impact on its consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

NOTE 3—STOCK-BASED COMPENSATION

        Tree.com currently has one active plan ("Tree.com 2008 Stock and Annual Incentive Plan") under which future awards may be granted, which currently covers outstanding stock options to acquire shares of Tree.com common stock and restricted stock units ("RSUs"), and provides for the future grant of these and other equity awards. Under the Tree.com 2008 Stock and Annual Incentive Plan, the Company is authorized to grant stock options, RSUs and other equity based awards for up to 2.75 million shares of Tree.com common stock. The active plan described above authorizes the Company to grant awards to its employees, officers and directors. Finally, this active plan also governs certain equity awards of IAC that were converted into equity awards of Tree.com in connection with the spin-off.

        In addition, the plan described above has a stated term of ten years and provides that the exercise price of stock options granted will not be less than the market price of the Company's common stock on the grant date. The plan does not specify grant dates or vesting schedules as those determinations have been delegated to the Compensation Committee of Tree.com's Board of Directors (the "Committee"). Each grant agreement reflects the vesting schedule for that particular grant as determined by the Committee.

        Prior to the spin-off, Tree.com employees received equity awards that were granted under various IAC stock and annual incentive plans. Upon spin-off, these IAC awards were converted into awards of

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both Tree.com and other former IAC companies. Tree.com will continue to recognize non-cash compensation expense for all of these awards granted to Tree.com employees.

        Non-cash stock-based compensation expense related to equity awards is included in the following line items in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations for the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008 (in thousands):

 
  Years Ended December 31,  
 
  2010   2009   2008  

Cost of revenue

  $ 16   $ 90   $ 803  

Selling and marketing expense

    187     154     873  

General and administrative expense

    3,288     3,524     9,518  

Product development

    149     124     43  
               

Non-cash stock-based compensation expense before income taxes

    3,640     3,892     11,237  

Income tax benefit

    (1,438 )   (1,537 )   (4,438 )
               

Non-cash stock-based compensation expense after income taxes

  $ 2,202   $ 2,355   $ 6,799  
               

        Non-cash stock-based compensation in 2008 includes a $6.6 million charge due to the modification of equity-based awards related to the spin-off, which consists of the accelerated vesting of certain restricted stock units and the modification of vested stock options.

        The forms of stock-based awards granted to Tree.com employees are principally RSUs, restricted stock and stock options. RSUs are awards in the form of units, denominated in a hypothetical equivalent number of shares of Tree.com common stock and with the value of each award equal to the fair value of Tree.com common stock at the date of grant. RSUs may be settled in cash, stock or both, as determined by the Committee at the time of grant. Each stock-based award is subject to service-based vesting, where a specific period of continued employment must pass before an award vests. Certain restricted stock awards also include performance-based vesting, where certain performance targets set at the time of grant must be achieved before an award vests. Tree.com recognizes expense for all stock-based awards for which vesting is considered probable. For stock-based awards, the accounting charge is measured at the grant date as the fair value of Tree.com common stock and expensed ratably as non-cash compensation over the vesting term. For performance-based awards, the expense is measured at the grant date as the fair value of Tree.com common stock and expensed as non-cash compensation over the vesting period if the performance targets are considered probable of being achieved.

        The amount of stock-based compensation expense recognized in the consolidated statement of operations is reduced by estimated forfeitures, as the amount recorded is based on awards ultimately expected to vest. The forfeiture rate is estimated at the grant date based on historical experience and revised, if necessary, in subsequent periods if the actual forfeiture rate differs from the estimated rate.

        Tax benefits resulting from tax deductions in excess of the stock-based compensation expense recognized in the consolidated statement of operations are reported as a component of financing cash flows. For the year ended December 31, 2008, excess tax benefits from stock-based compensation of

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$0.4 million was included as a component of financing cash flows. There were no excess tax benefits from stock-based compensation for the years ended December 31, 2010 or 2009.

        As of December 31, 2010, there was approximately $1.6 million, $2.9 million and $1.9 million of unrecognized compensation cost, net of estimated forfeitures, related to stock options, RSUs and restricted stock, respectively. These costs are expected to be recognized over a weighted-average period of approximately 1.9 years for stock options, 2.0 years for RSUs and 2.1 years for restricted stock.

Stock Options

        A summary of changes in outstanding stock options is as follows:

 
  Shares   Weighted
Average
Exercise
Price
  Weighted
Average
Remaining
Contractual
Term
  Aggregate
Intrinsic
Value
 
 
   
   
  (In years)
  (In thousands)
 

Outstanding at January 1, 2010

    1,177,319   $ 9.34              

Granted

                       

Exercised

    (44,835 )   6.73              

Forfeited

    (68,464 )   7.46              

Expired

    (111,351 )   9.57              
                       

Outstanding at December 31, 2010

    952,669   $ 9.58     6.3   $ 87  
                   

Options exercisable

    287,506   $ 12.40     4.4   $ 257  
                   

        Substantially all options outstanding at December 31, 2010 are vested or are expected to vest over a weighted-average period of approximately 1.9 years.

        The fair value of each stock option award is estimated on the grant date using the Black-Scholes option pricing model. There were no stock options granted by the Company during the year ended December 31, 2010. There were 21,250 stock options granted by the Company during the year ended December 31, 2009. There were 364,696 stock options converted from IAC options to Tree.com options in connection with the spin-off and 1,558,950 stock options granted by the Company during the year ended December 31, 2008.

        The Black-Scholes option pricing model incorporates various assumptions, including expected volatility and expected term. For purposes of this model, no dividends have been assumed. Expected stock price volatilities are estimated based on the historical volatility of similar companies, as the stock of Tree.com began trading on August 21, 2008, and there was insufficient data at the 2008 grant date to calculate its own historical volatility. The risk-free interest rates are based on U.S. Treasury yields for notes with comparable terms as the awards, in effect at the grant date. The expected term of options granted is based on analyses of historical employee termination rates and option exercise patterns, giving consideration to expectations of future employee behavior. The following are the weighted average assumptions used in the Black-Scholes option pricing model for years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008: volatility factor of 70%, risk-free interest rate of 3.4%, expected term of 6.7 years, and a dividend yield of zero.

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NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (Continued)

NOTE 3—STOCK-BASED COMPENSATION (Continued)

        The weighted average grant date fair value of stock options granted during the year ended December 31, 2008 at market prices equal to Tree.com's common stock on the grant date was $5.04. The stock options granted during the year ended December 31, 2009 were not significant.

        In connection with the spin-off, the Chairman and CEO was awarded two grants of 589,950 stock options, each of which represents the right to acquire 2.5% of the fully diluted equity at exercise prices representing a total equity value of the Company of $100 million and $300 million. The stock options all cliff vest at the end of five years. The weighted average exercise price and the weighted average fair value related to these stock option grants were $16.95 and $4.19, respectively. In 2009, the Company entered into an Option Cancellation Agreement with the Chairman and CEO, in which he surrendered for cancellation in its entirety one stock option award to purchase 589,850 shares of the Company's common stock at an exercise price of $25.43 per share.

        The aggregate intrinsic value in the table above represents the total pre-tax intrinsic value (the difference between Tree.com's closing stock price on the last trading day of 2010 and the exercise price, multiplied by the number of in-the-money options) that would have been received by the option holders had all option holders exercised their options on December 31, 2010. This amount changes based on the fair market value of Tree.com's common stock. The total intrinsic value of stock options exercised during the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008 was $87,000, $33,000 and $10,000, respectively.

        Cash received from stock option exercises and the related actual tax benefit realized were $302,000 and $36,000 for the year ended December 31, 2010; $95,000 and $14,000 for the year ended December 31, 2009; and, $7,000 and $4,000 for the year ended December 31, 2008, respectively.

        The following table summarizes the information about stock options outstanding and exercisable as of December 31, 2010:

 
  Options Outstanding   Options Exercisable  
Range of Exercise Prices
  Outstanding at
December 31, 2010
  Weighted
Average
Remaining
Contractual
Life in Years
  Weighted
Average
Exercise Price
  Exercisable at
December 31, 2010
  Weighted
Average
Exercise Price
 

$.01 to $4.99

    11,474     1.63   $ 3.15     11,474   $ 3.15  

$5.00 to $7.45

    12,213     1.93     6.64     12,213     6.64  

$7.46 to $9.99

    746,663     6.99     8.28     81,500     7.60  

$10.00 to $14.99

    54,250     2.35     12.23     54,250     12.23  

$15.00 to $19.99

    81,406     4.40     15.03     81,406     15.03  

$20.00 to $24.99

    46,663     4.44     20.19     46,663     20.19  
                             

    952,669     6.25   $ 9.59     287,506   $ 12.40  
                             

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TREE.COM, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (Continued)

NOTE 3—STOCK-BASED COMPENSATION (Continued)

Restricted Stock Units and Restricted Stock

        Nonvested RSUs and restricted stock outstanding as of December 31, 2010 and changes during the year ended December 31, 2010 were as follows:

 
  RSUs   Restricted Stock  
 
  Number of
Shares
  Weighted
Average
Grant
Date Fair
Value
  Number of
Shares
  Weighted
Average
Grant
Date Fair
Value
 

Nonvested at January 1, 2010

    704,938   $ 8.03     350,000   $ 5.42  

Granted

    509,370     8.09     150,000     9.21  

Vested

    (294,806 )   10.26     (87,500 )   5.42  

Forfeited

    (284,731 )   7.32          
                   

Nonvested at December 31, 2010

    634,771   $ 7.53     412,500   $ 6.80  
                   

        The weighted average grant date fair value of RSUs granted during the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008 at market prices equal to Tree.com's common stock on the grant date was $8.09, $5.29 and $5.43, respectively.

        The total fair value of RSUs that vested during the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008 was $2.3 million, $0.3 million and $1.2 million, respectively.

        In connection with the spin-off, the Chairman and CEO was granted 117,970 shares of restricted stock in 2008, which were equal to 1% of the fully diluted equity of the Company at the spin-off date. These shares of restricted stock vested during the year ended December 31, 2009, had a total fair value of $0.9 million, and their weighted average grant date fair value was $7.46. The Chairman and CEO was also granted 350,000 shares of restricted stock in 2009, which was treated as a modification of the cancelled stock option award of 589,850 shares discussed above. These shares of restricted stock had a weighted average grant date fair value of $5.42. The incremental non-cash compensation expense for this modification is $0.7 million, which will be recognized over the vesting period of four years. During the year ended December 31, 2010, the Chairman and CEO was granted 150,000 shares of restricted stock. These shares of restricted stock had a weighted average grant date fair value of $9.21 and a total fair value of $1.4 million.

Equity Instruments Denominated in the Shares of Certain Subsidiaries

        Subsequent to December 31, 2010, the Company has granted common shares in various operating subsidiaries to certain members of the subsidiaries' management. These equity awards vest over a period of years or upon the occurrence of certain prescribed events. The Company has taken a preferred interest in the subsidiary with a face value equal to its investment cost or a certain other fixed amount. These preferred interests accrete with paid-in-kind dividends at a prescribed rate of return. The equity awards management receives as a whole generally represent a small minority of the total common stock outstanding of each subsidiary. Accordingly, these interests only have value to the extent the relevant business appreciates in value above the preferred interest (including the accretion of dividends), our investment cost or other fixed amount. These interests can have significant value in the event of significant appreciation. The interests are ultimately settled in Tree.com common stock or cash

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NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (Continued)

NOTE 3—STOCK-BASED COMPENSATION (Continued)


at the sole option of Tree.com, with fair market value determined by negotiation or arbitration, at various dates through 2015. The expense associated with these equity awards is initially measured at fair value at the grant date and is amortized ratably as non-cash compensation over the vesting term. The aggregate number of Tree.com common shares that would be required to settle these interests at current estimated fair values, including vested and unvested interests, will be included in future calculations of diluted earnings per share if the effect is dilutive.

        The operating subsidiaries are party to fair value put and call arrangements with respect to these interests. These put and call arrangements allow management of these businesses to require the relevant operating subsidiary to purchase their interests or allow the operating subsidiary to acquire such interests at fair value, respectively. These put and call arrangements become exercisable by the operating subsidiary and the counter-party at various dates through 2015. These put arrangements are exercisable by the counter-party outside the control of the Company. Accordingly, to the extent that the fair value of these interests exceeds the value determined by normal non-controlling interest accounting, the value of such interests is adjusted to fair value with a corresponding adjustment to additional paid-in capital. Non-controlling interests in the consolidated subsidiaries of the Company should be reported on the consolidated balance sheet within shareholders' equity, separately from the Company's equity. However, in accordance with Accounting Standards Update 2009-04, "Accounting for Redeemable Equity Investments-Amendment to ASC 480-10-599", securities that are redeemable at the option of the holder and not solely within the control of the issuer, must be classified outside of shareholders' equity. Since the redemption of the non-controlling interests is outside the control of the Company, these interests will be included in the mezzanine section of future consolidated balance sheets, outside of shareholders' equity.

NOTE 4—GOODWILL AND INTANGIBLE ASSETS

        The balance of goodwill and intangible assets, net is as follows (in thousands):

 
  December 31, 2010   December 31, 2009  

Goodwill

  $ 11,599   $ 12,152  
           

Intangible assets with indefinite lives

  $ 43,242   $ 52,733  

Intangible assets with definite lives, net

    2,177     4,893  
           
 

Total intangible assets, net

  $ 45,419   $ 57,626  
           

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NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (Continued)

NOTE 4—GOODWILL AND INTANGIBLE ASSETS (Continued)

        Intangible assets with indefinite lives relate principally to trade names and trademarks acquired in various acquisitions. At December 31, 2010, intangible assets with definite lives relate to the following ($ in thousands):

 
  Cost   Accumulated
Amortization
  Net   Weighted Average
Amortization Life
(Years)
 

Purchase agreements

  $ 75,453   $ (75,288 ) $ 165     5.8  

Technology

    30,491     (29,838 )   653     3.0  

Customer lists

    7,388     (6,692 )   696     3.9  

Other

    9,009     (8,346 )   663     4.1  
                     
 

Total

  $ 122,341   $ (120,164 ) $ 2,177        
                     

        At December 31, 2009, intangible assets with definite lives relate to the following ($ in thousands):

 
  Cost   Accumulated
Amortization
  Net   Weighted Average
Amortization Life
(Years)
 

Purchase agreements

  $ 76,352   $ (74,657 ) $ 1,695     5.7  

Technology

    30,491     (29,396 )   1,095     3.0  

Customer lists

    7,388     (6,631 )   757     3.9  

Other

    9,813     (8,467 )   1,346     4.1  
                     
 

Total

  $ 124,044   $ (119,151 ) $ 4,893        
                     

        Amortization of intangible assets with definite lives is computed on a straight-line basis and, based on December 31, 2010 balances, such amortization is estimated to be as follows (in thousands):

 
  Amount  

Year ending December 31, 2011