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REA to buy Mortgage Choice for $244m

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Property group REA has proposed buying broking business Mortgage Choice for $244 million, and the latter has asked shareholders to approve the bid.

REA on Monday said it would pay $1.95 per share ($244 million) as part of a scheme put forward.

The Mortgage Choice board has recommended shareholders vote in favour. The vote is due in June.

Mortgage Choice has a loan book of $54 billion and reported a net profit after tax of $4.1 million for the six months to December.

REA has stepped up its efforts in the mortgage industry in recent years by increasing its ownership of broker Smartline to 100 per cent.

REA said its proposed acquisition would complement Smartline’s footprint and provide greater national broker coverage.

The deal depends on shareholder and court approvals.

Mortgage Choice shares were up 62.55 per cent to $1.91 on Monday afternoon. They earlier rose to a session high of $1.92.

REA shares were down 1.84 per cent to $137.48.

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