Blend, a leader in digital lending software, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement with Mr. Cooper Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: COOP) to acquire Title365, a top provider of title insurance and settlement services. Together, Blend’s technology platform and Title365’s operational expertise in title, escrow, and settlement will help financial institutions more efficiently and effectively engage with consumers across a fully integrated homebuying journey.
“Since its inception, Blend has been on a mission to create a simpler, more transparent, more accessible financial services ecosystem with the power to help more people reach their financial goals, like purchasing a home,” said Blend Co-founder and CEO Nima Ghamsari. “Title and settlement are manual, time-consuming processes for consumers and lenders, and by bringing all parties into the same automated platform we can vastly improve the experience. With an intense focus on its customers and operational efficiency, Title365 is the right match to help us scale our efforts and make an immediate impact in that space.”
Blend’s work to build a single, cloud-based platform to power the full consumer homebuying journey began in 2018 with the launch of its homeowner’s insurance offering, and continued in 2020 with the launch of its digital closing solution, Blend Close. Many lenders, including U.S. Bank, BMO Harris Bank, First Horizon Bank, and Nationwide Mortgage Bankers, are taking advantage of these products. This acquisition and the investment in title, which is a key piece of the homebuying puzzle, and often plagued by unforeseen complexity, is the next step toward completing the journey.
Blend and Title365’s combined strengths will result in a digital homebuying journey that drives efficiency and cost savings for all parties by deeply integrating title and settlement into the loan process. The new capabilities will include a best-in-class closing and settlement experience and a marketplace of title agencies, including TitleVest, supplying lenders and consumers with maximum flexibility and choice. Title365’s services will be integrated with Blend’s cloud-based platform, which already enables better service and a more secure workflow for consumers along with easier collaboration among lenders, settlement teams, and consumers on closing fees and other critical information.
The Title365 team, which President Kristen Estrella will continue to lead across its U.S. and India offices, will join Blend once the acquisition closes.
“Traditionally, purchasing a home has been riddled with various complexities, requiring many steps and third-party participants. We’re thrilled to be joining forces with Blend to continue the great work Title365 has already done,” said Estrella. “Together we have the power to simplify the process for real estate agents, lenders and servicers, insurers, and others, by leveraging our industry expertise to offer a seamless experience for consumers.”
Pursuant to the terms of the transaction, Blend will acquire Title365 for approximately $422 million, reflecting an enterprise value of $500 million, less approximately $31 million in adjustments, and reflecting a 9.9% ownership interest retained by Mr. Cooper Group. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is serving as Blend’s financial advisor, with Latham & Watkins, LLP serving as legal advisor, Greenberg Traurig LLP and Weiner Brodsky Kider PC serving as regulatory counsel, and funds managed by Owl Rock Capital providing financing.