Lending Tree Loans to be sold to Discover Financial for roughly US$55.9M; deal expected to close by end of year

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina , May 13, 2011 () – Lending and real estate business Tree.com has agreed to sell its Home Loan Center subsidiary to Discover Financial Services for about $55.9 million, the two companies said Thursday.

Further details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Home Loan Center, which operates as LendingTree Loans, originates and processes consumer mortgage loans nationwide.

The acquisition adds a residential mortgage component to Discover's banking business, which includes credit cards, personal loans, student loans, certificates of deposit, savings accounts and Roth individual retirement accounts.

Tree.com said the transaction will enable it to invest more in its other businesses.

The deal is expected to close by the end of 2011.

Discover shares rose 2 cents to $24.20 before the transaction was announced, while Tree.com shares gained 24 cents, or 4.6 percent, to $5.40.

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