Jeff Sprecher, chief executive officer of Intercontinental Exchange Inc., continued his foray into the mortgage market with the purchase of cloud-based platform provider Ellie Mae.

Atlanta-based ICE, as the company is known, agreed to buy Ellie Mae from private equity firm Thoma Bravo LLC in a deal that values the mortgage-lending platform at about US$11 billion. The owner of the New York Stock Exchange will pay a combination of stock and cash for Pleasanton, California-based Ellie Mae, according to a statement Thursday. Further terms weren’t disclosed.

Ellie Mae will allow ICE to expand its own mortgage-servicing business. In 2017, Sprecher said the mortgage market needed a complete overhaul to shift from a paper-based transaction system to an electronic method. “It’s so obvious to us that the market is going to become more electronified,” Sprecher said at the time.

In 2016, ICE gained a majority stake in Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., or MERS, which documents the ownership and resale of about half of U.S. home loans.

Ellie Mae

More than 40 per cent of annual U.S. mortgage originations are processed using Ellie Mae software, according to Erica Bigley, a company spokesperson. That gives Ellie Mae insight into trends such as borrowers’ credit profiles and changing underwriting standards. ICE reported US$90 million in mortgage-servicing revenue for the first half of 2020, a 40 per cent increase from a year earlier. Sprecher has said that mortgage servicing is the fastest-growing business on the company’s platform.

“We have a business that is part of nearly every U.S. mortgage closing process, collecting, marshaling and storing critical data,” Sprecher said on an earnings call in July. “U.S. mortgage back-office workflow is ripe for automation and greater efficiency.”

Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, competes with ICE in offering mortgage-related data and analysis.

Intercontinental Exchange shares dipped as much as 2% in extended New York trading after the announcement. They rose US$1.30 to US$97.46 in regular trading and have gained 5.3 per cent this year.