Feds looking to block $13 billion mortgage software deal

The move would be the latest high-profile antitrust move from the Biden administration, which is determined to stymie the recent wave of corporate consolidations.

By Josh Sisco

The Federal Trade Commission is expected to challenge the $13 billion takeover of mortgage data company Black Knight by financial services giant Intercontinental Exchange, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter. A case is expected to be filed some time in March, said the people, who were granted anonymity to discuss a confidential matter. The FTC believes the deal would give Intercontinental Exchange, which also owns the NYSE, too much power in the multi-trillion dollar U.S. mortgage market, and come at the expense of both higher home prices for consumers and competitors in the mortgage data and services industry, the people said…Federal Financial Analytics managing partner Karen Petrou urged the FTC to block the acquisition in an early February report, arguing that combining ICE’s “critical mortgage services” with Black Knight would give it “unrivaled power to control the prices set on each mortgage, the terms on which credit is provided, the lenders offered the most advantageous terms, and the extent to which home ownership is available on affordable, equitable terms in rural, urban and majority-minority communities.” That report outlining Petrou’s case was funded by an anonymous company opposing the deal, but Federal Financial Analytics said it had complete control over the final product.

Zachary Warmbrodt contributed to this report.