Ocwen Financial Corporation and WL Ross & Company LLC have entered into an agreement where Ocwen will acquire Homeward Residential Holdings Inc., including its various residential mortgage loan servicing and origination operating subsidiaries, for approximately $588 million in cash and $162 million in Ocwen convertible preferred stock. Homeward services about 422,000 mortgage loans with an aggregate unpaid principal balance of over $77 billion. Its loan origination business includes correspondent and retail lending and is focused solely on high-quality Agency-conforming mortgages.
"The acquisition of Homeward significantly advances Ocwen's twin strategic growth initiatives to add high return servicing assets to its portfolio and expand origination capacity to provide for a sustainable source of future growth," said Ocwen's Executive Chairman William Erbey. "Homeward brings with it a global servicing platform as well as a growing origination business that is already operating at a $10 billion annual run-rate after launching in late 2011."
Homeward was organized by WL Ross in 2007 and is the result of several major platform combinations: American Home Mortgage Servicing, Option One Mortgage Company and a large servicing portfolio from Citi Residential Lending. After normalizing for certain transition related expenses, the acquisition of Homeward by Ocwen is expected to be immediately accretive to earnings per share.
"Homeward has been profitable in each year of its existence and has also been a wonderful cash flow producer, distributing to us approximately $900 million of cash since the initial investment," said Wilbur Ross, chief executive officer of WL Ross. "Mortgage banking is a business of scope and scale, and we believe that the combined company will fill the void created by the ongoing departures of many banks from the overall industry."
The definitive acquisition documents provide representations, warranties and covenants that are customary for a transaction of this nature, as well as loss sharing provisions relating to certain pre-closing liabilities. Subject to regulatory approvals, the transaction is anticipated to close by year end. Ocwen will not need to raise any additional equity capital to close the transaction.
"Homeward has a well-deserved reputation for excellence in the mortgage industry," Ron Faris, CEO of Ocwen said. "We are excited about the synergistic combination of the attractive servicing portfolio and platform, as well as the origination platform which will provide organic growth and will further Ocwen's ability to work with existing borrowers on refinancing opportunities."