Apparently unable to unload its mortgage origination operation, Cendant Corp. announced Tuesday that it will spinoff the unit.
The franchise giant will distribute the mortgage and fleet operations of PHH Corp., currently a Cendant subsidiary, to shareholders, according to the announcement.
The transaction will be structured as a tax-free distribution of the common stock of PHH, the New York-based company said, and is expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year.
Cendant previously announced that it had been in talks with another company to sell the mortgage operations, but that deal fell through. While it was speculated that the interested party was Countrywide Financial Corp., neither company would confirm the rumor.
The franchise conglomerate said it anticipates entering into a joint venture with Cendant Mortgage after the deal is done, keeping the lines open to some of the country's biggest real estate franchises including Century 21 and Coldwell Banker.
"The 'pure-play' nature of PHH as a publicly-traded, financial services company should enhance investors' appreciation of these businesses, compared to their being relatively small components of Cendant," said Terence W. Edwards -- who will serve as CEO of the spunoff unit.
Cendant claims its mortgage operation is the sixth largest retail residential mortgage originator in the country.