Australia’s Computershare to sell US mortgage portfolio for $720 million

By Rishav Chatterjee

(Reuters) -Australia’s Computershare said on Tuesday it was selling its U.S. mortgage services arm to asset manager Rithm Capital for $720 million, as the share registry company aims to focus on its core businesses.

The deal includes the sale of Specialised Loan Servicing (SLS), a mortgage subservicer in the U.S., and would add a mortgage servicing rights portfolio of about $136 billion in unpaid principal balance to Rithm.

After the close of the transaction, SLS’ portfolio and operations would be transitioned to and managed by Newrez, a Rithm portfolio company.

Shares of Computershare jumped as much as 3.3% to A$26.66 as of 2344 GMT, their highest level since Dec. 22.

The company entered the loan-servicing market with the purchase of SLS in the U.S. in 2011.

The divestment of the U.S. mortgage services allows Computershare to focus on its core businesses, which have “high levels of recurring revenues, long-term growth runways, low capital intensity and attractive returns through the cycle”, said Computershare CEO and President Stuart Irving.

The deal is expected to aid Computershare’s earnings per share in the first year after the completion of the divestment, which is expected in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2024.

Rithm, which is focussed on the real estate and financial services industries, will fund the acquisition through a combination of existing cash, available liquidity along with additional mortgage servicing rights financing.

“The deal looks like a good one for Computershare and gives them focus again,” said Henry Jennings, senior market analyst, marcustoday.

Mortgage markets are highly competitive, added Jennings, saying the divestment seems a sensible move for the company to concentrate on core operations.

“The addition of SLS continues to grow our best-in-class special servicing business and adds more clients and homeowners to the Newrez platform,” said Baron Silverstein, president, Newrez.

Computershare expects to record an one-off stautory pre-tax loss of around $150 million to $180 million from the divestment.

(Reporting by Rishav Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar and Rashmi Aich)