Hedge fund Cerberus Capital Management -- which controls GMAC Mortgage -- has agreed to buy Option One Mortgage Corp., Irvine, Calif., from H&R Block for just under $1 billion in cash.If Option One is combined with GMAC's mortgage unit, the new entity will challenge HSBC and Countrywide for the top slot among all subprime funders, according to figures compiled by the Quarterly Data Report. H&R Block said it would book a noncash pretax charge of up to $320 million on the sale. However, there is an "earn-out" clause tied to the net tangible value of Option One's assets at the time of closing. As of Jan. 31, H&R Block valued Option One's assets at $1.27 billion. Option One can be found online at http://www.optiononemortgage.com.

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