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Lead Company Among Recent Mergers

Lead Company Among Recent MergersSage Global to acquire, Fleetwood to divest

April 13, 2005

By COCO SALAZAR

While one deal has a mortgage service provider jumping into the leads business, another has a manufactured home producer jumping out of home finance.

In San Diego, Calif., Sage Global Solutions announced Monday that it acquired privately held Online Mortgage Inc. in a share purchase and exchange deal, in which it will pay $20,000 for web development and issue one million of its shares to Online’s owner in exchange for Online’s outstanding shares.

Sage, a holding company which acquired online loan document signing agent Express Notary Service earlier this month, said the current strategic transaction will further extend its reach into the mortgage services industry.

Online, which will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Sage, is currently developing technology to generate mortgage leads.

“This acquisition will drastically reduce our marketing expenses related to acquiring sales leads for mortgages and document signing,” Sage President Henry Davidson said in the announcement.

Online founder Doug Coulter commented that the merger “provides an unrivaled opportunity for growth and profitability.”

Coulter, who also founded technology consulting firm CTO Consultant LLC, will be Sage’s chief technology officer.

In Riverside, Calif., Fleetwood Enterprises said it board of directors has authorized it to sell the manufactured housing financial services business, HomeOne Credit Corp., as well as its retail manufactured home sales business, Fleetwood Retail Corp.

“We are taking this action in order to stem losses and concentrate our attention on our core businesses,” said chief executive Elden Smith in a prepared statement. “We are convinced that returning Fleetwood to its traditional focus on manufacturing operations and wholesale distribution channels in both our manufactured housing and in our recreational vehicle businesses provides us with the best opportunity to regain our former position as the industry leader in both.”

While Fleetwood will consider offers for the businesses as separate complete entities, Smith, who had retired and rejoined the company on March 9, said he hopes both “can be sold to one buyer to minimize the disruption to the associates at those companies, but we cannot judge the likelihood of that possibility at this time.”

Fleetwood reported a net loss of $54.7 million for its fiscal third quarter ending Jan. 23, compared with a net loss of $10.2 million a year earlier. In its earnings press release, the company and its bank syndicate also announced the expansion of its secured credit facility. The changes would provide Fleetwood with additional borrowing capacity throughout the year and amend the EBITDA covenant to enable it to remain in compliance.


Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for MortgageDaily.com.email: s3celeste@aol.com

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