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US FTC agrees to dismiss case against ICE’s $11.7 billion Black Knight deal By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A screen displays the logo for Black Knight on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., May 4, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) -The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Monday told a federal court it wanted to drop its lawsuit against a proposed $11.7 billion proposed acquisition of data vendor Black Knight (NYSE:) by NYSE-owner Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:), as the sides try to negotiate a settlement to close the deal.

The companies and the FTC filed a joint request to a federal court seeking dismissal of an FTC lawsuit aimed at stopping the deal. The case had been set to go to trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Aug. 14.

Shares of Black Knight rose 4.5% to $74.72 on Monday, after gaining more than 12% since the deal was announced in May 2022. ICE was up 1.4% and was trading at $115.58.

In March, the FTC said it wanted to stop the deal, citing concern ICE would gain so much power in the mortgage data market that costs would rise for consumers and innovation would suffer.

The agency had also filed a complaint before an internal administrative law judge. It withdrew that complaint from adjudication in July.

Black Knight said in mid-July, in response to FTC concerns, that it would sell its Optimal Blue business for $700 million. Optimal Blue provides data and technology to price and trade mortgages.

Black Knight had previously said it would sell its Empower loan origination system business. Canadian business software firm Constellation Software is to buy both divested assets.

ICE has clinched several deals in recent years to expand beyond its core exchanges business. In 2020, it bought mortgage technology platform Ellie Mae in an $11 billion deal.

A year before that, it had also bought Simplifile in a $335 million deal.

The parties involved will look to come to mutually acceptable terms by Aug. 25.

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