Centerbridge Will Buy Green Tree

Green Tree Servicing, the nation's largest manager of manufactured housing loans, will be acquired by one private equity firm from another in a deal reached last month.

An investor group led by Centerbridge Partners, along with existing management, will buy 100% of the company's equity from funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group and from affiliates of Cerberus Capital Management.

Until now, Cerberus has been largely a buyer in the nonprime mortgage finance world, taking advantage of depressed valuations to acquire a stake in GMAC Financial and Aegis Mortgage, among others.

Green Tree Servicing and Centerbridge said the new ownership will allow Green Tree to grow its loan servicing volume and buy new portfolios. Green Tree will use its current platform to continue to develop new business initiatives while expanding and diversifying current operations, the companies said in a joint news release. Green Tree was acquired by Conseco Finance in 1998 for $6 billion, a price that was later criticized as too high by many financial commentators. Conseco filed for bankruptcy in 2002.

Terms of the Centerbridge transaction were not disclosed.

Keith Anderson, chief operating officer of Green Tree Servicing, said the investment is good news for his organization.

"The new ownership group will provide capital resources, market expertise and strong strategic alliances that will enable us to focus on near-term growth initiatives. This will also empower Green Tree to develop long-term growth strategies, develop new products and expand into different markets within the consumer finance industry."

Lance West, a Centerbridge senior managing director, said Green Tree's "world class senior management team, and its employees strong commitment to servicing, make the company a uniquely attractive consumer finance platform. We look forward to working with the management team to grow the business and maintain Green Tree's passion for servicing excellence."

Green Tree specializes in servicing home mortgages and manufactured housing. The company services over 700,000 accounts with approximately $20 billion in assets. In addition to manufactured housing loans, Green Tree services home equity, home improvement and consumer installment loans, and offers insurance products through its insurance agency affiliate.

Green Tree is based in St. Paul and has operational centers in Tempe, Ariz., and Rapid City, S.D.

Centerbridge Capital Partners is a $3.2 billion multistrategy private investment fund that was formed last year. Its investors include financial institutions, university endowments, pension funds and charitable trusts. (c) 2007 Mortgage Servicing News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.mortgageservicingnews.com http://www.sourcemedia.com

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