Countrywide Eyes Cendant's MortgageBusiness

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CALABASAS, Calf. - (07/26/04) -- Countrywide Financial Corp. isreportedly on the verge of acquiring Cendant Corp.'s mortgagebanking business, in one of the biggest mortgage deals ever.Cendant, which provides mortgage services for as many as 1,000credit unions, said last week it is in discussions for the sale ofthe operations for as much as $7 billion, including the repaymentof $6 billion in debt associated with the unit and net proceeds ofup to $1 billion. Though the Cendant would not say who the proposedacquirer is, Countrywide said earlier this year it has beenreviewing the Cendant operations for possible acquisition.Meantime, Cendant said last week it boosted net income 80% for itssecond quarter to $691 million, or 48 cents a share, due to a gainof $770 million for an initial public offering for its JacksonHewitt tax preparation unit. As a result, earnings for its fiscalfirst half rose 6% to $1.1 billion, or 86 cents a share.

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