Industry News

Subprime real estate lender may be acquired

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Aames Investment Corp., a national subprime mortgage lender based in California, is in discussions with several parties regarding a potential merger or sale of the company, Aames said last week. The mortgage real estate investment trust said there could be no assurance that any transaction will be completed or of the price of any such acquisition, but it believes there is "significant probability" it will enter into a definitive agreement during the second quarter. Aames has retained Credit Suisse Inc. as its adviser in the transaction. Other home-loan specialists, including Countrywide Financial Corp. in Calabasas, Calif., and Ameriquest Mortgage Co. in Orange, Calif., have reported the effects of the mortgage market slowdown. Washington Mutual is laying off 256 workers from its Florence, S.C., support center, the company said May 3, a move following on the heels of its February announcement of plans to close 10 of its 26 home-loan processing centers, eliminating 2,500 jobs. Last we...