Mortgage giant Guaranteed Rate revealed Wednesday that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Texas-based Stearns Holdings from funds managed by Blackstone.

The move, Guaranteed Rate said in a statement, will allow the company to enter the wholesale channel, boost retail loan origination, and “further scale its JV platform, while also developing new multichannel capabilities.”

Guaranteed Rate also announced plans to integrate and rebrand Stearns’ retail operation under its name. Stearns Holdings’ wholesale and businesses will remain as stand-alone operations, with David Schneider continuing to lead the combined company as CEO.

“We’re excited about bringing Stearns Holdings into the Guaranteed Rate family,” said Guaranteed Rate President and CEO Victor Ciardelli. “Pairing the incredible talent throughout Stearns’ organization with that of our existing team exemplifies the best of the best in the mortgage business, yielding an even more powerful platform.”

Stearns operates in all 50 states through retail, joint venture, partnership, and wholesale channels. It also has extensive partnerships with real estate agent, builder, and relocation joint ventures, as well as private label relationships with well-known brands such as SoFi and Home Mortgage Alliance. Guaranteed Rate plans to combine Stearns’ exclusive partnerships with its existing joint ventures with Realogy and @properties to create one of the biggest partnership platforms in the US.

Guaranteed Rate also noted that Blackstone would “have an interest in Guaranteed Rate and will continue to support the integration and growth of the Guaranteed Rate vision.”

“We are fully behind Victor Ciardelli and the entire Guaranteed Rate team,” said Nadim El Gabbani, senior managing director at Blackstone. “This combination creates a powerful player in the mortgage industry and one that we believe is exceptionally well-positioned for success over the long term.”

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The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021 and is still subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

“We’re thrilled about this transaction,” Guaranteed Rate CEO David Schneider said. “Guaranteed Rate is a formidable player in the mortgage industry, and this combination will empower our employees and partners to reach more customers, generate more business and guide more people through the homeownership journey.”