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Blackstone acquires majority stake in Stearns Lending

Blackstone’s mortgage holdings just got much larger

[Editor's note: The original version of this story contained additional paragraphs that detailed acquisitions by Finance of America, a Blackstone portfolio company. The edits below reflect that Stearns Lending was acquired by funds managed by the private equity group Blackstone.]

Blackstone (BX), a full-service, private-equity funded investment bank and burgeoning mortgage lending giant based in New York, is set to increase its mortgage business even more, as the company looks to acquire a majority stake in Stearns Holdings, the parent company of Stearns Lending.

In a release, Blackstone said upon completion of the deal, it will provide Stearns, a national mortgage lender with wholesale, retail, correspondent and strategic alliance business channels, with the “necessary resources to accelerate its growth and fuel its efforts to capture even greater market share.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Stearns Founder and Chairman Glenn Stearns will retain a “significant” ownership stake.

“I am extremely excited to partner with Blackstone,” Stearns said. “Aligning with a strong financial partner will provide us with the resources to continue executing our strategic plan as we aim to increase profitable market share growth. I am very proud of what our employees have accomplished over the past 26 years and I look forward to the future with Blackstone as a partner.”

“We chose Stearns to be our partner because it is a leader in the mortgage market with a world-class management team and a strong platform,” said Chinh Chu, a senior managing director at Blackstone. “We look forward to partnering with Founder Glenn Stearns, CEO Brian Hale and the entire team at Stearns to accelerate the next phase of the company’s growth.”

Hale said that the Stearns team looks forward to the future with support from Blackstone as the company “continues to build the preeminent residential mortgage lender in the U.S.”

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC is serving as exclusive financial advisor to Stearns Holdings, LLC. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is serving as exclusive financial advisor to Blackstone.

The deal is expected to close by year-end 2015. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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