US financial services firm MetLife sells mortgage unit to JP Morgan

US insurer MetLife Inc (NYSE:MET) said it had inked an accord to sell the mortgage servicing portfolio of its banking unit MetLife Bank NA to JPMorganChase Bank NA, part of financial major JPMorgan Chase & Company (NYSE:JPM).

MetLife did not reveal the terms of the deal, which has yet to receive regulatory clearance. The portfolio under the scope of the transaction stands at some USD70bn (EUR54.6bn).

On 24 October, in a regulatory filing, the insurer said it was pondering an offload of its mortgage servicing portfolio. MetLife decided last year that a banking holding company structure was no longer appropriate, in view of its strategic focus on insurance and employee benefits, and has since sealed deals to offload certain operations of the bank and discontinued writing residential mortgages. The firm’s entire retail banking operations, including mortgages, accounted for less than 2% of its overall operating earnings in 2011.

JPMorgan’s purchase of the portfolio is in line with its plan to beef up and expand its servicing business. As a result of the acquisition, the buyer will boosts its USD1.1trn servicing operations by over 5% and it will also be able to provide solutions to a further 350,000 clients.

MetLife hired K&L Gates LLP, Milestone Advisors LLC and Deutsche Bank Securities Inc as advisors on the deal.

Vector Capital trumps JP Morgan’s bid for French Technicolor

US private equity firm Vector Capital, focused on technology investments, said it had increased to EUR2.00 (USD2.52) a share from initial EUR1.90 its offer to buy a stake in French broadcasting technology and services company Technicolor SA (EPA:TCH), trumping the proposal by JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM).

Vector Capital, which now owns 0.6% in Technicolor, is proposing to increase that stake to between 18% and 29.9% through a capital hike of up to EUR191.1m at the French group, the buyer said.

This new offer would bring EUR33.5m more cash to Technicolor than the transaction with JPMorgan, the private equity firm said.

Technicolor’s board has recently turned down an increased offer of EUR1.90 a share from JPMorgan, saying it preferred the first bid of EUR1.60 a share, as the revised one came was accompanied by unacceptable conditions.

JPMorgan, controlling 1% in Technicolor, proposed to raise that interest to between 25% and 29.96%. Under the first bid made on 2 May, it would invest between EUR147m and EUR158m in a capital hike at the French group, while the amount proposed in the revised bid would be between EUR169m and EUR179m.

Vector Capital said it would submit its irrevocable improved offer documentation for approval at the Technicolor shareholders’ meeting on 20 June.

Technicolor, present in Europe, Asia and the Americas, offers services for content creators, digital home products, software service platforms and research and licensing

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JP Morgan and private equity arm to invest in Technicolor

JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) and its private equity arm One Equity Partners will invest in an up to EUR158m (USD208m) capital hike at Technicolor SA (EPA:TCH) with the aim of taking a stake of between 25% and 29.96% in the French broadcasting technology and services company, the latter said on Thursday.

The investment by JPMorgan, which already holds 1% in Technicolor, will help the French group improve its balance sheet and give it additional capabilities to implement its growth strategy under the Amplify 2015 plan.

Technicolor’s CEO, Frederic Rose, welcomed the US investment bank as a significant long-term shareholder, saying that the investment showed confidence in the company and its strategy and growth potential.

In turn, David Walsh, managing director at One Equity Partners, said his firm was looking forward to working with Technicolor’s management towards implementing its growth strategy through increasing top market positions and achieving its financial objectives.

Technicolor will use 80% of the cash from the capital hike to reduce debt by between EUR118m and EUR126m. This will increase its financial flexibility and allow it to carry out its Amplify 2015 plan aimed at converting the company into a leader in innovation in media monetisation solutions.

After the deal, the buyer will have two directors in Technicolor’s nine-member board.

The transaction and the board changes are subject to clearance by Technicolor’s shareholders at their meeting on 20 June 2012, as well as regulatory approvals.

JPMorgan will keep the Technicolor shares for at least one year after the acquisition wraps up. The French group announced on Wednesday a board meeting to discuss an offer for a minority stake received from an institutional investor, whose name it did not disclose at the time.

Technicolor, present in Europe, Asia and the Americas, offers services for content creators, digital home products, software service platforms and research and licensing.