Distressed Servicer Altisource Acquires Lenders One
Altisource Portfolio Solutions (ASPS) acquired Mortgage Partnership of America (MPA), manager of the Lenders One Mortgage Cooperative. The deal brings together Altisource, a firm that specializes in distressed asset services with Lenders One, a consortium of independent mortgage bankers that use their combined bargaining power to leverage agreements with preferred vendors and investors. “It is probably the best thing to happen to Lenders One in our 10 years of business besides the fact that 157 members have joined,” Lenders One CEO Scott Stern told HousingWire. Altisource paid cash and less than 5% of the company’s stock shares to MPA’s ownership group. Stern said MPA was a privately held company with 16 owners, but declined to disclose any of those members. Sources confirmed to HousingWire that Stern and his brother, Lenders One president Tim Stern, are two of the owners. While the specific terms of the deal were not immediately available, Altisource disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing the transfer of nearly 4.6m shares of stock to Massachusetts-based Wellington Management, a privately-held investment advisor and account manager on Friday, the same day the MPA acquisition was announced. The markets were closed Monday for the President’s Day holiday, but at Friday’s after hours trading price, the transferred stock would be valued at nearly $112.3m. An Altisource spokesperson said the shares transfer was unrelated to the MPA transaction, but declined to further explain the transfer. In addition to the purchase agreement, the Lenders One management team signed multi-year employment agreements. “We’ll all be here well into the future to ensure the success of Lenders One and to ensure the success of the acquisition,” Stern said. Altisource’s global headquarters are located in Luxembourg, and the company’s US offices are in Kennesaw, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta. Lenders One is based in St. Louis. Its more than 155 lender-members originated $77.1bn in mortgages during 2009. [Altisource’s] experience in default services and the resulting services they provide like appraisals and title policies, combined with their willingness to help ensure the survival of independent mortgage bankers gives us a platform where we can really take the Lenders One Mortgage Cooperative to the next level,” Stern said. Specifically, Lenders One will have access to the resources of a large company, including business platform, capital markets know-how and technology to expand its reach and influence. For Altisource, acquiring Lenders One furthers its goal of expanding its services beyond default management and into the origination space. “We are convinced that through the combination of Altisource and MPA, we will be able to offer an improved capital market and loan execution strategy adaptable by each member that will ultimately drive members’ loan volumes, lower members’ costs and make members’ loans worth more,” Altisource CEO William Shepro said in a press statement. Stern said Lenders One intends to continue to work with its preferred investors and vendors, adding the acquisition enables Lenders One to increase its offering to its members. It is not yet determined whether Lenders One will expand its membership beyond independent mortgage bankers to include default firms, but Stern didn’t rule out the possibility. “With Altisource’s experience in default services and settlement services and our experience in origination and secondary marketing, we believe the end result will be an organization that provides outstanding solutions in every aspect of the life cycle of a loan,” Stern said. Write to Austin Kilgore. The author held no relevant investments.