On a tough day for the markets, E-Loan (NASDAQ:EELN) was able to post a strong gain of 14.09% to $3.32 per share. And the company reported the best kind of news for investors; that is, E-Loan had better-than-expected earnings results.

In the fourth quarter, E-Loan generated revenues of $36.2 million, which was up 36% from the same period in 2003. The company had net income of $1 million or $0.02 per share, which was up from $200,000 in the same period in 2003.

For 2004, E-Loan had revenues of $135 million (which was down 11% from 2003). Net income was $805,000, which was down significantly from the $23 million net profit in 2003.

Actually, 2004 was a year of transition for E-Loan, as the company attempted to further diversify its business. Currently, E-Loan has three business lines: mortgage, equity loans, and auto loans. E-Loan wants to bring more stability to its growth. So far, it seems to be working.

Consequently, E-Loan provided guidance for 2005. Revenues are expected to be roughly $165 million, which is a 22% increase from 2004. Pre-tax EPS is expected to be $0.13 per share.

Over the years, E-Loan has invested heavily in building a powerful online lending platform. In 2005, the company plans to launch a new advertising campaign to leverage its platform.

Moreover, E-Loan has entered various strategic agreements, such as eBay Motors (NASDAQ:EBAY) and Edmunds.com. It's too early to tell the traction from these deals, but keep in mind that eBay is the No. 1 auto site.

With the scaling of E-Loan, the company may be attractive buy-out bait for 2005. It could be a money maker for big-volume companies such as Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC).

Fool contributor Tom Taulli owns shares in eBay.