Mortgage

Big real estate data and MLS software provider going public — again

Black Knight Financial Services, formerly LPS, files for IPO

Black Knight Financial Services, a major provider of residential real estate data that also furnishes software to multiple listing services that serve more than 250,000 subscribers, is going public again.

Black Knight’s technology division provides software and hosting solutions for mortgage loan originators and servicers, while its data and analytics division supplies property ownership data, lien data, servicing data, automated valuation models, collateral risk scores, appraisal review services, prepayment and default models, and lead generation.

Last year, the data and analytics segment generated $80.8 million in revenue, a 2 percent annual increase driven by new contract wins that were partially offset by lower MLS revenues, the company said in a preliminary prospectus for its initial public offering. Expenses were up 16 percent, to $80.4 million, primarily due to maintenance expenses for the company’s property records database.

Residential property records are used by lenders, real estate professionals and investors to get a handle on home values, and can also be plugged into automated valuation models (AVMs) that power home valuation estimates on search sites like Zillow.

Black Knight’s main competitors in the residential real estate data space are CoreLogic and RealtyTrac. After getting into the tax, deed and mortgage records business this year, RealtyTrac hired LPS vets Brian Mushaney and Jeff Mattice.

In October, Black Knight recruited CoreLogic executive Ben Graboske as chief technology officer of its data and analytics division. The division includes Black Knight’s MLS Solutions, which handles more than 220 MLS accounts representing 250,000-plus subscribers.

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Black Knight signed its first MLS deal in Canada the same month, with a group of associations representing more than 17,000 real estate professionals.

Black Knight was a publicly traded company known as Lender Processing Services, before its DocX LLC subsidiary got tangled up in the robo-signing scandal. In 2013, LPS agreed to pay more than $150 million in settlements with state attorneys general and the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve criminal allegations involving more than 1 million mortgage documents.

Title insurer Fidelity National Financial Inc. acquired LPS in January for $2.9 billion and renamed it Black Night Financial Services.

Fidelity National Financial got into the tax, deed and mortgage data licensing business in 2001 by acquiring IDM Corp. It reorganized its title insurance and mortgage loan processing divisions into separate companies in 2006, with FNF’s mortgage loan processing division becoming Fidelity National Information Services Inc. Fidelity National Information Services spun off LPS in 2008.