Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co., a San Diego-based originator of nonprime residential mortgage loans, and Aames Investment Corp., a Los Angeles-based nonprime lender, have announced an agreement whereby Accredited will acquire Aames in a transaction valued at approximately $340 million.The companies said the merger is expected to result in the sixth-largest retail originator of nonprime mortgages, the 12th-largest mortgage originator overall, the ninth-largest nonprime mortgage portfolio, and the 19th-largest mortgage portfolio. "Aames' nationwide franchise will almost triple Accredited's retail branches, creating one of the nation's largest independent retail originators," said James A. Konrath, chairman and chief executive officer of Accredited. The stock-and-cash transaction values Aames at approximately $5.35 per share at its closing price on May 24. The companies said approximately $109 million of the $340 million purchase price will be paid in cash to Aames stockholders, and the remainder will be paid in Accredited common stock at an exchange ratio of 0.0700 shares of Accredited stock for each share of Aames common stock. The companies can be found online at http://investors.accredhome.com and http://www.aames.com.

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