ICE Acquires Ellie Mae To Strengthen Mortgage Services
Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE: ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of mortgage technology, data and listing services, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Ellie Mae®, the leading cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry. The transaction with Ellie Mae, a portfolio company of Thoma Bravo, a leading private equity investment firm, values Ellie Mae at approximately $11 billion. The deal, following ICE’s taking a majority stake in MERS in 2016, purchasing the remainder in 2018, and acquiring Simplifile in 2019, establishes ICE, through its growing ICE Mortgage Services network, as the leading provider of end-to-end electronic workflow solutions serving the evolving U.S. residential mortgage industry.
Ellie Mae, based in Pleasanton, California with approximately 1,700 employees, was founded in 1997 with a mission to automate and digitize the trillion-dollar residential mortgage industry. Through its Digital Lending Platform, Ellie Mae provides technology services to all participants in the mortgage supply chain, including its over 3,000 customers and thousands of partners and investors participating on their open network who provide liquidity to the market. Lenders rely on Ellie Mae to securely manage and facilitate the exchange of data across the ecosystem to enable the origination of mortgages while maintaining strict adherence to various local, state and federal compliance requirements.
“Twenty years after we founded Intercontinental Exchange to provide a transparent trading platform for the energy industry, and following two decades of providing continued innovation to help customers navigate global markets, we are pleased to announce the acquisition of Ellie Mae, which will help us similarly transform the mortgage marketplace,” said Jeffrey C. Sprecher, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange. “Our planned acquisition represents a one-of-a-kind opportunity to add an extraordinary enterprise with great leadership to our family. It will also enhance ICE’s growth strategy in mortgage technology, with complementary products and a wide array of customers and stakeholders who will benefit from our core and proven expertise in operating networks and marketplaces.”
“We are excited to be joining the Intercontinental Exchange family and having the opportunity to work closely with Simplifile and MERS in helping our industry to realize the true digital mortgage,” said Jonathan Corr, President and CEO of Ellie Mae. “We have been on a journey, as we have long said, ‘to automate everything automatable’ for the mortgage industry, and joining ICE, which has followed a parallel journey in global exchanges, will allow us to further accelerate realizing our vision. We also greatly appreciate, and have significantly benefited from, the operational and strategic support from Thoma Bravo. They were instrumental in helping us achieve this outcome, which is a great one for our customers and the industry in general.”
Since acquiring Ellie Mae, Thoma Bravo has partnered with its leadership team to nearly double revenue while achieving best-in-class profitability and driving continued innovation in Ellie Mae’s core products. The combination of Ellie Mae’s market-leading solutions with Thoma Bravo’s deep operational expertise helped the company redesign its organizational structure to scale more efficiently, transform its go-to-market organization to better serve its existing customers, and focus on organic product innovation to drive long-term, sustainable growth. Thoma Bravo also worked closely with Ellie Mae to acquire Capsilon, a highly strategic acquisition that added significant product capabilities and greatly expanded the company’s total addressable market.
“We partnered with Jonathan Corr, Joe Tyrrell and the Ellie Mae team to advance their vision to automate the residential mortgage industry while also using Thoma Bravo’s deep software expertise to greatly improve the company’s operations and accelerate growth,” said Holden Spaht, a Managing Partner at Thoma Bravo. “We are confident that being part of ICE will enable Ellie Mae to continue transforming an industry still in the early innings of digitization, and we look forward to following Ellie Mae’s continued success as part of ICE for many years to come.”
The entire production chain of the mortgage industry, from lead generation to application, to pre-closing, to closing, to post-closing, has traditionally been a highly document-centric and manual process. ICE’s acquisition of MERS and Simplifile has helped to automate the post-closing process. The addition of Ellie Mae extends ICE’s reach to the origination space.
In addition to its Digital Lending Platform capabilities and its vast partner network, Ellie Mae also provides technology solutions that enable its clients to achieve greater levels of consumer engagement, efficiencies through automation, and a modernization of the loan manufacturing process through its recent introduction of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Through this complementary addition, ICE Mortgage Services will provide innovative technology that touches nearly every U.S. mortgage, accelerating additional digitization and streamlining of the mortgage manufacturing process, and ICE Data Services will be able to add to its offerings.
“This transaction will benefit ICE and its shareholders,” said Scott Hill, Chief Financial Officer of Intercontinental Exchange. “The strength of our balance sheet, and the combined cash flows, position this deal to be accretive in the first full year and to meet all of our key strategic and financial acquisition criteria.” The transaction, which is not subject to a financing condition, is expected to close in the third quarter or early fourth quarter of 2020, following the receipt of regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.
Key Financial Metrics:
- Transaction valued at an enterprise value of $11 billion, with consideration in the form of a mix of cash (84% of EV) and newly issued shares of ICE common stock (16%).
- Expected ICE Mortgage Services pro-forma 2020 revenues of $1.1 billion (includes expected 2020 Ellie Mae revenues of ~$900 million).
- Expected ICE Mortgage Services pro-forma 2020 adjusted EBITDA1 of ~$600 million (includes expected 2020 Ellie Mae adjusted EBITDA2 of ~$470 million).
- Including past acquisitions of both MERS & Simplifile and, upon completion of the acquisition of Ellie Mae, ICE will have invested a total of roughly $11.5 billion in its strategy to automate the mortgage workflow.
- Expected Ellie Mae transaction IRR of 10%; ICE ROIC will remain above ICE WACC in year one, growing thereafter.
- Expected to realize run-rate cost synergies of $50 million to $65 million by the end of year three.
- Expected that the acquisition of Ellie Mae will be accretive to adjusted EPS in the first full year of ownership.
Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo are serving as lead financial advisors to Intercontinental Exchange, which also received financial advice from Broadhaven, Citigroup and Moelis & Company LLC. Shearman & Sterling LLP is serving as the legal advisor to Intercontinental Exchange, with additional legal advice from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Jefferies LLC are serving as financial advisors to Thoma Bravo and Ellie Mae, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP is serving as the legal advisor to Thoma Bravo and Ellie Mae.
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