Black Knight to purchase mortgage advertising and marketing firm Prime of Thoughts for $ 250 million

Continuing its role as a series acquirer across a range of mortgage industries, Black Knight signs an agreement to purchase marketing automation provider Top of Mind Networks for $ 250 million in cash.

This marks the sixth acquisition by Black Knight since early 2020. Earlier this month, the company acquired eMBS, a provider of performance data and analytics for agency mortgage-backed securities. This followed the purchase of the mortgage lending system from NexSpring Financial in March.

The 2020 deals included Optimal Blue, DocVerify and Collateral Analytics. These followed the acquisitions of HeavyWater and Ernst for artificial intelligence in 2018.

This deal is likely an attempt for Black Knight to offer the same range of services that Ellie Mae, a competitor in the LOS business that is now part of ICE Mortgage Technology, offers its customers.

On the marketing side of the mortgage business, Ellie Mae bought sales director Velocify back in 2017 to complement his previous acquisitions of customer relationship management technology companies MortgageCEO and Mortgage Returns.

Top of Mind has a wide range of clients who work with both retail originators and wholesale lenders and their mortgage brokers. The company was founded in 2003; In April 2018, the company received an undisclosed amount of private equity infusion from Primus Capital.

Top of Mind executives who had spoken to and had nothing to do with the editors of National Mortgage News prior to the contract announcement saw Salesforce as the leading contest. While Salesforce isn't a mortgage-specific product, it is CRM Surefire from Top of Mind.

"It's one thing to build the platform, but then you have to fill it with creative content," which Salesforce lacks, although Nick Belenky, Chief Revenue Officer of Top of Mind, added that there will be big lenders out there with their own systems want to build.

Regarding mortgage returns, Belenky said, "It's not a major player in the market from a growth and competitiveness standpoint, [but] it's a great product if you're already at [Ellie Maes LOS] Encompass."

According to Belenky, Top of Minds business plan expects customer growth among small and medium-sized originators in 2020.

"And then when the pandemic hit them, they amplified some of the effects we were already expecting," Belenky said. "On the sales side, in early 2020 we quadrupled our sales teams, which are specifically aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. We have followed where the market is going."

Upon closing in the third quarter, Black Knight will focus on integrating Top of Mind's Surefire product with the Empower LOS and improving connections to the Optimal Blue product, pricing and entitlement engine before making new connections and integrations for lenders and servicers are created.

"Our combined customers will have access to additional market-leading offerings from a single trusted vendor while we continue to expand Black Knight's ability to sell our solutions to more than 850 commercial banks through Top of Mind's broad reach, mortgage lenders, credit unions and Mortgage Broker, "Black Knight CEO Anthony Jabbour said in a press release.

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