GIVING BACK

The Florida Realtors Education Foundation’s Board of Directors awarded $198,400 in college scholarships to help pay for higher education expenses for 132 young people living in Florida communities in the 2018-2019 school year.

The Florida Realtors Education Foundation Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation established by the state Realtor association and provides real estate-related educational scholarships. 

All recipients will be attending community colleges, four-year universities, graduate programs or law schools both in state and out of state. Successful applicants were considered for academic achievements, financial need, relationship to the Realtor family and contributions to family, school and the local community.

LAUNCHES

Opendoor, an online marketplace that buys homes directly from homeowners, announced it has expanded its Homebuilder Program beyond its pilot and is now available to all homebuilders.

Opendoor explained that the program, which initially launched with mega homebuilder Lennar, frees buyers who need to sell their home before purchasing a new one to do so without having to sell their old home.

Trelix, a provider of real estate, mortgage and technology services, announced the launch of a closing services solution that aims to help mortgage lenders settle their loans. It will also provide a full suite of end-to-end fulfillment services for customers.

With the addition of closing services, The Trelix Platform will help clients streamline the start-to-finish closing experience from disclosure and document preparation to compliance review and closing coordination, the company said.

It also aims at eliminating timing uncertainties by communicating regularly between originators, borrowers and Realtors, the company said in a press release.

Ellie Mae has added applications to its Encompass NG Lending platform, and lenders are already harnessing its powers, according to the company.

The Encompass NG Lending Platform looks to deliver innovative capabilities to help lenders and partners accelerate time to market, improve efficiency, loan quality and compliance, the company said.

Ellie Mae’s new suite of applications are now available to all lenders leveraging the platform. The applications, Encompass Data Connect and Encompass Investor Connect, follow four suite applications the company launched in 2017.

The applications created an ecosystem of collaboration for lenders, partners and third-party providers.

The company hopes the new additions will offer the same experience.

M&A

Fifth Third Bancorp and MB Financial announced they have entered into a definitive merger agreement. Fifth Third is shelling out $4.7 billion in stocks and cash to buy out MB Financial’s shareholders and complete the merger.

Based on Fifth Third’s stock price as of May 18, MB Financial’s shareholders will receive $54.20 of total consideration for each of their shares in the company. This will consist of 1.45 shares of Fifth Third common stock, and $5.54 in cash per share. This represents a roughly 24% premium on Fifth Third’s stock price as of May 18.

In-House Realty, a subsidiary of Rock Holdings, announced that it purchased ForSaleByOwner.com, a real estate site where homeowners can market their homes, from Tronc, the publishing giant that owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Daily News, THe Baltimore Sun, the Orlando Sentinel and more.

In-House Realty is a digital platform for matching consumers with real estate agents, and the move to acquire ForSaleByOwner.com appears to be part of a larger move to develop a one-stop shop for homebuyers and sellers. This latest purchase is part of Rock Holdings’ fintech acquisition tear. According to details provided by the company, this acquisition marks the fourth fintech acquisition for a Rock Holdings’ subsidiary in under 18 months.

Interior Logic Group and Interior Specialists tied the knot on June 1, as they completed the merger they announced at the beginning of May.

The new company will operate coast-to-coast under the name Interior Logic Group. Interior Logic Group services the interior design needs of multifamily owners, homebuilders and big box retailers.

With the merger, the company now employs 4,300 people in 225 locations around the nation and is now worth $1.5 billion.

HomeServices of America, an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway, purchased Ebby Halliday Companies, the largest private residential real estate company in Texas by sales volume, for an undisclosed amount.

Ebby Halliday has a number of real estate brands under its umbrella transferring to HomeServices with the transaction: Ebby Halliday, REALTORS, Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate and Williams Trew Real Estate along with all its affiliated mortgage and title companies.

Ebby Halliday is headquartered in Dallas and did $8 billion in sales in 2017. The company has been in operation since 1945 when Ebby Halliday started the firm as a one-woman, one-office venture.

President and CEO of Ebby Halliday, Mary Frances Burleson and CFO Ron Burgert will continue on with the firm under its new owners.

Taylor Morrison announced that it is acquiring fellow homebuilder AV Homes in a deal valued at nearly $1 billion. In a release, Taylor Morrison said that it views AV Homes’ portfolio as complementary to its own. AV Homes has homebuilding operations in Florida, the Carolinas, Arizona and Texas.

Under the terms of the deal, Taylor Morrison will acquire all of AV Homes’ outstanding shares for $21.50 per share in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $963 million, which includes AV Homes’ outstanding debt. The boards of both companies have unanimously approved the deal, which will now go to AV Homes’ stockholders for their approval.

Celebrity Financial, a financial-services holding company, purchased Midwest Equity Mortgage, an independent mortgage lender, in the first of several acquisitions Celebrity said it is preparing for in the near future. The sale is pending regulatory approval but expected to close in Q3.