Navient Corp. has agreed to acquire financial technology and education finance company Earnest for $155 million in cash.
Following the completion of the transaction, Earnest will continue as a separate brand and will be led by its current management team, including founders Louis Beryl and Ben Hutchinson. There will be no changes to Earnest's customer service, rates, terms and benefits.
Earnest is expected to originate nearly $1 billion in student loan refinancing loans in 2017.
In connection with the agreement, Navient will suspend its remaining share repurchase program through the end of 2018 to allocate capital toward growing the education lending business and building book value, effective Oct. 4.
The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
J.P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as financial adviser to Navient, while Barclays acted as financial adviser to Earnest.