| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Mortgage software company Ellie Mae (ELLI.N) has hired Morgan Stanley (MS.N) to try to sell the company, two sources familiar with the deal told Reuters on Tuesday.
The sources wished to remain anonymous because they are not permitted to speak to the media.
Both Morgan Stanley and Ellie Mae declined to comment.
The sales process for Ellie Mae, which has a market capitalization of $768.6 million, is expected to begin in the next few weeks, and a number of parties, particularly private equity firms, are expected to take a look at the company, one of the sources said.
Pleasanton, California-based Ellie Mae's software is used in around 20 percent of all mortgages in the United States, according to the company.
Given the rising interest rate environment and a jump in the price of Ellie Mae's stock from $5.50 per share at the beginning of 2012 to around $29 currently, there is no question that Ellie Mae is in a good position to sell, said Michael Huang, an analyst with Needham & Company.
"Rates rising means that growth rates won't be as spectacular as what we have seen this year or last year," Huang said. "But they still have significant growth opportunities by acquiring users and driving up pricing per loan."
(Reporting by Jessica Toonkel and; Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)