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Alt-A Funder Impac Listening to Offers?

Impac Mortgage Holdings here, a top-ranked alt-A lender, has been talking to investors about a possible sale, investment banking sources confirmed to Mortgage Servicing News. One industry source familiar with the matter said there is an offering book out on the company.

At press time, Tania Jernigan, Impac's vice president for investor relations, could not be reached for comment. The publicly traded Impac is the nation's seventh largest alt-A lender in the U.S., according to figures compiled by Mortgage Servicing News and the Quarterly Data Report. Late last week, its stock was trading at $9.20 compared to a 52-week low of $7.17 and a high of $22.32.

Impac is a real estate investment trust, a legal structure that results in a large percentage of its earnings being paid out to shareholders in the form of dividends.

The mortgage industry has been undergoing a correction of sorts the past six months and some publicly traded mortgage REITs have seen their share prices drop dramatically, Impac included. Even though the lender has talked to potential buyers, it is unclear whether it is still for sale. "They've talked to a lot of people," said one executive.

Last week, company president and chief operating officer William S. Ashmore relinquished the COO title, giving it to Richard J. Johnson, EVP and chief financial officer. Mr. Johnson, in turn, gave the CFO title to Gretchen Verdugo, formerly an EVP and chief accounting officer.

In a statement, Impac said Mr. Ashmore will leverage his "substantial expertise and strategic leadership to focus more on strategic initiatives and opportunities available" to the company.

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