Mortgage.com Inc. hopes to raise $112 million in an initial offering of stock-more than twice what its main competitor raised last month in a spectacular market debut.
"It's a battle for 'mind share' and market share between the two companies," said Gary Craft, managing director and a financial services analyst at E-Offering.
Mortgage.com's plan, which was not announced, is documented in a June 2 filing with Securities and Exchange Commission. The Plantation, Fla.-based wholesale lender is a pioneer in mortgage technology.
Rival E-Loan Inc. of Dublin, Calif., went public June 29 at $14 a share, raising $49 million. The stock soared to $51 that day before closing at $37. It closed Friday at $49.875.
The companies are vying for a growing market. Ten percent of all mortgages are expected to be originated on-line by 2003, up from less than 1% in 1998, according to Forrester Research Inc.
In total, $1.5 trillion of mortgage loans were originated in 1998, 66% more than in 1997, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Mortgage.com, formerly called First Mortgage Network, is a hybrid lending and technology company. Apart from its wholesale mortgage lending business, the company sells Internet-based mortgage origination software to banks, brokers, and realtors. It also maintains private-label Web sites for banks, including SouthTrust Corp. and NetBank Inc.
After the IPO, Intuit Inc., which has an equity stake in the company, would become an 18.8% owner of Mortgage.com.
Through Intuit Inc.'s Quickenmortgage.com network, Mortgage.com processes on-line mortgage applications for First Union Corp., Fleet Financial Group Inc., and GE Capital Mortgage Services.
Mortgage.com started operations in April 1994. Revenues from interest income, software sales, and services were $37.7 million in 1998, up 116% from the year before. The net loss widened to $6.1 million, compared to a loss of $3.5 million in 1997.
Seth Werner, chairman and chief executive officer of Mortgage.com, said SEC rules barred him from discussing the offering. But the company's filing said the proceeds would be used for general corporate purposes such as funding new technology research, as well as to retire $40.5 million of debt.
Credit Suisse First Boston, Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown, and U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray would underwrite the offering.