Marathon Sells Marix Servicing Platform
Marathon Asset Management, L.P. is getting out of the mortgage loan servicing business, months after exiting the whole loan trading business. The company said Thursday morning that it had entered into a definitive agreement with Walter Investment Management Corp. (WAC), a Tampa, Fla.-based REIT, to sell Marix Servicing LLC. Phoenix-based Marix was founded as a captive specialty servicer for Marathon in February 2007, as the investment manager looked to make a push into trading and acquiring distressed whole loans during the first wave of the nation's housing crisis. Sources at Marathon confirmed to HousingWire that the company largely exited whole loan trading earlier this year, but has maintained an active presence in mortgage-backed securities and related fixed-income investment trading. With the Marix acquisition, Walter Investment Management Corp. will become one of the nation's top 10 servicers of sub-prime mortgages. The company currently has $1.9 billion of assets under management and annual revenues of approximately $180 million, and employs approximately 230 people. "We believe Marix will serve to both accelerate and broaden our portfolio acquisition opportunities," said Mark J. O'Brien, Walter Investment's chairman and chief executive officer. "We view the acquisition of Marix as an opportunity to expand our business on numerous fronts." Walter Investment, Marix and Marathon will maintain a close strategic relationship after the closing, according to company officials, including the use by Marathon of Marix for the servicing of residential mortgage assets on an exclusive basis, participation by Marathon on Marix's advisory council and the continuation of pre-existing credit agreements provided to Marix by Marathon through March 2011. "We believe Walter Investment is the ideal company to partner with in this transaction," said Bruce Richards, chief executive officer at Marathon. "Over the past three-and-a-half years, we have built Marix into a premier residential mortgage special servicer. Now, by combining the company with Walter Investment's platform and substantial resources, Marix will have the ability to further this tradition of excellence and growth." Paul Jackson is editor in chief at HousingWire.