ATLANTA, Oct. 3, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ocwen Financial Corporation (NYSE:OCN) and private equity firm WL Ross & Co. LLC entered into an agreement today whereby Ocwen will acquire Homeward Residential Holdings, Inc., including its various residential mortgage loan servicing and origination operating subsidiaries, for approximately $588 million in cash and $162 million in Ocwen convertible preferred stock. Homeward services about 422,000 mortgage loans with an aggregate unpaid principal balance of over $77 billion. Its loan origination business includes correspondent and retail lending and is focused solely on high quality Agency-conforming mortgages. "The acquisition of Homeward significantly advances Ocwen's twin strategic growth initiatives to add high return servicing assets to its portfolio and expand origination capacity to provide for a sustainable source of future growth," said Ocwen's Executive Chairman William Erbey. "Homeward brings with it a global servicing platform as well as a growing origination business that is already operating at a $10 billion annual run-rate after launching in late 2011." Homeward was organized by WL Ross & Co. in 2007 and is the result of several major platform combinations: American Home Mortgage Servicing, Option One Mortgage Company and a large servicing portfolio from Citi Residential Lending. After normalizing for certain transition related expenses, the acquisition of Homeward by Ocwen is expected to be immediately accretive to earnings per share. Wilbur Ross, CEO of WL Ross & Co. said, "Homeward has been profitable in each year of its existence and has also been a wonderful cash flow producer, distributing to us approximately $900 million of cash since the initial investment. Mortgage banking is a business of scope and scale, and we believe that the combined company will fill the void created by the ongoing departures of many banks from the overall industry." Ron Faris, CEO of Ocwen said, "Homeward has a well-deserved reputation for excellence in the mortgage industry. We are excited about the synergistic combination of the attractive servicing portfolio and platform, as well as the origination platform which will provide organic growth and will further Ocwen's ability to work with existing borrowers on refinancing opportunities."