The struggling Mortgage Lenders Network will auction off a bulk package of mortgage servicing rights believed to have a total value of just under $5 billion, investment banking sources have told MortgageWire.The auction is expected to occur this week. Meanwhile, a source inside the Middletown, Conn.-based company -- and others outside the firm -- say Lehman Brothers is talking to MLN about taking over some of its shuttered wholesale assets. Lehman had no comment. At MW's deadline, MLN had not responded to a telephone call and an e-mail message about the matter. In late December MLN, a nonprime lender, shuttered its entire wholesale operation -- which accounts for 90% of its production -- but said it will continue to fund through retail means. (For more details on the servicing sale, see the Jan. 8 issue of National Mortgage News.)

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