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Angelo Gordon & Co. is taking a second stab at launching a new mortgage investment firm after investors rebuffed its initial equity offering in April, underscoring the potential opportunity it sees in the $11 trillion U.S. home loan market as the government backs away from its housing aid.
The company is one of several forming real estate investment trusts in a bid to lay groundwork for investing in residential mortgages when the U.S. government pulls back on its support of housing. Other managers with pending IPOs include bond fund firms TCW and Pacific Investment Management Co., and private equity firm Apollo Global Management.
AG Mortgage will initially invest in government-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae (FNMA), Freddie Mac (FMCC) and Ginnie Mae, but transition to privately sold residential mortgage-backed securities when that market recovers. Private RMBS issuance has been next to nil for three years, in part because investors demanding more compensation for risk can't compete with programs of the government-sponsored enterprises, which fund 90% of U.S. home loans.
The Obama administration in February laid out options to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over time, beginning with plans to raise fees the two companies charge for backing loans. It is also expected to reduce the size of loans eligible for the government-sponsored enterprise's guarantees.
"Asset managers want to form REITs because they see the GSEs retrenching," said David Akre, a consultant who co-founded of REIT New York Mortgage Trust. "They get permanent capital to manage, and the management fees are good relative to typical asset management."
Existing mortgage REITs have been also been raising capital this year, including Invesco Mortgage Capital Inc. (IVR), PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (PMT) and Annaly Capital Management Inc. (NLY).
Angelo Gordon, a $23 billion asset manager specializing in mortgage debt, slashed its planned initial public offering by 70%, according to a regulatory filing late on Wednesday. The first offering may have turned off some investors because the REIT didn't specify the exact assets it would purchase, one analyst said.
In its amended registration, the company said it plans to raise $73.5 million through the sale of 3.75 million shares, down from $248.2 million off 12.5 million shares. The company said it will have a private placement of shares, including 3.2 million units to an affiliated company and two executives, which will increase the amount raised by $74.1 million. A private placement was initially seen raising $17.2 million.
A call to Angelo Gordon's New York office wasn't returned.
AG Mortgage "may benefit from the administration's proposal to promote a level playing field for housing finance, and we expect curtailment of government support for housing could begin as early as this year," it said in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
"Eventually, there's plenty of room for more capital and more public mortgage REITs, the issue is just timing," especially with opportunities for private mortgage funding still distant, said Richard King, chief executive of Invesco Mortgage Capital. To play in existing markets, investors already have many options, he said.
"Several money managers have good stories and would perform, but it's tough to get investors over the hump of paying to get someone in business and take the blind pool risk, where there are plenty of incumbents."
-By Al Yoon, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3216; email@example.com