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BlackRock Adds to its Equity Stake in Top 10 Servicer

New York-Subsidiaries controlled by investment banker BlackRock Financial have increased their stake in PHH Corp., Mount Laurel, N.J. - a top 10 ranked residential servicer - to 9.67%, according to a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Previously, BlackRock affiliates controlled about 5% of PHH's outstanding common.

Two years ago General Electric Capital Corp. almost bought PHH in its entirety for $1.9 billion but the deal fell apart.

(GECC had planned to flip PHH's mortgage business - the company's biggest asset - to the Blackstone Group, which is not affiliated with BlackRock.)

Over the past four years several buyers looked at PHH including Countrywide Financial Corp., which is now part of Bank of America.

The new SEC filing says the investment banking firm owns 5.27 million shares in PHH, compared to 2.5 million shares previously.

As Mortgage Servicing News went to press, spokespersons for both PHH and BlackRock had not returned telephone calls about the investment.

The publicly traded BlackRock owns the stake on behalf of five different advisory subsidiaries, all of which carry the BlackRock name.

PHH Mortgage, the nation's largest private label lender and servicer, controls about $146 billion in residential servicing rights.

Headquartered in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, PHH Corporation provides private-label mortgage and vehicle fleet management services.

The company said its subsidiary, PHH Mortgage, is one of the top ten retail originators of mortgages in the United States.

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