Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross said on Monday that he would buy H&R Block Inc's mortgage servicing business for $1.1 billion.
Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. is an American investor known for restructuring failed companies in industries such as steel, coal, telecommunications, foreign investment and textiles. He specializes in leveraged buyouts. In 2005, Forbes magazine listed Ross as one of the world's billionaires for the first time.
H&R Block is the leading tax preparation company in the United States, and claims more than 22 million customers worldwide, with offices in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. The Kansas City, Mo.-based company also offers banking, personal finance and business consulting services.
It is the latest in a series of mortgage and financial services purchases by Ross. His buyout firm, W.L. Ross & Co, is buying H&R Block's Option One Mortgage Servicing, which sends out bills and collects mortgage payments.
Ross said he would offer jobs with comparable terms to a "substantial portion" of Option One employees. The deal is expected to close by May 30.
H&R Block, an income tax preparation company incurred losses by its expansion into the mortgage business and the deal will reduce its debt by $700 million. Block said it does not expect to record a significant gain or loss in net income.
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