FTC wants temporary pause on ICE acquisition of Black Knight

He Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has opened a new front in the fight against intercontinental exchangeICE’s (ICE) planned acquisition of black knight.

The agency asked a federal court in California to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) and a preliminary injunction (PI) preventing ICE from moving forward with the deal to buy Black Knight. The goal is to give the commission time to pursue internal litigation against the merger, according to a complaint filed in the US District Court in San Francisco on Tuesday.

Unless the court issues a preliminary and temporarily restrained injunction, ICE and Black Knight plan to close on the acquisition immediately after a vote by Black Knights shareholders, which is scheduled for April 28, according to the lawsuit.

The FTC’s administrative hearing on the settlement is scheduled for July 12.

“The preliminary relief is warranted and necessary,” the FTC said in the complaint. “If the Commission determines, after the full administrative proceeding, that the Acquisition is illegal, restoring the status quo would be difficult, if not impossible, if the Acquisition has already occurred in the absence of preliminary measures.”

the FTC defendant ICE will block the transaction in March on the premise that the merger of the nation’s two largest providers of mortgage loan origination systems and other key software tools for lenders will increase costs, reduce innovation and reduce lender choice. for the tools used to generate and service mortgages. .

“ICE has full confidence in our position and looks forward to pursuing it in court,” the company said following the FTC’s lawsuit against ICE. The company affirmed its plans to complete the acquisition in the third or fourth quarter of 2023.

In an effort to assuage antitrust concerns regarding the merger, ICE and Black Knight amended the terms of their proposed deal to reduce Black Knight’s valuation to $11.8 billion, about 11% less than its valuation when the deal was signed. agreement. announced last year.

black knight sold its loan origination system, Empowerto a Canadian subsidiary constellation software inc. in March, before the FTC’s lawsuit against ICE. The deal included its Exchange, LendingSpace and AIVA solutions.

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