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Black Knight Announces Executive Changes, Acquisition of Optimal Blue

Black Knight Inc. has announced that Anthony Jabbour, the company's Chairman and CEO, will assume the role of Executive Chairman of the Board; Joe Nackashi, Black Knight's current President, will assume the role of CEO; and Kirk Larsen, Black Knight's current CFO, will assume the role of President and CFO. All three new appointments are effective May 16, 2022.

"As we embark on this executive transition, Black Knight has never been in a stronger position from an innovation, integration, client satisfaction, operational or financial performance perspective," said Jabbour. "I am honored to work with such a talented and dedicated team of people who are as focused on delivering innovative solutions as I am. Joe and I see the world the same way: we need to act with the urgency of a startup, treat each client like they are our only client, care for our employees, and deliver on our commitments to shareholders."

Jabbour joined Black Knight as CEO in 2018, and became Chairman and CEO in 2021. Under Jabbour's leadership, the company’s focus on innovation has resulted in record sales and accelerated revenue growth. In addition to achieving higher organic growth, Black Knight acquired and integrated nine companies into the Black Knight ecosystem. In his role as Executive Chairman, Jabbour will focus on the strategic direction of the company, capital allocation and will work with the executive leadership team to extend the company's track record of success.

Nackashi has been President of Black Knight since 2017, and is a 35-year veteran of the company. Over his career, Nackashi has developed strong and trusted relationships with Black Knight clients and leaders throughout the mortgage industry. In his role as President, he has been focused on the integration of the company's teams, solutions and operations to provide clients with enhanced efficiency.

Larsen joined Black Knight as CFO in 2014, and led the company through its initial public offering in 2015. In his expanded role, Larsen will also assume responsibility for the compliance, enterprise risk management, human resources, internal audit, legal and marketing functions, and will work closely with Nackashi to achieve the company's strategic goals.

In addition to the executive changes, Black Knight has acquired the outstanding interests of Optimal Blue Holdco LLC (Optimal Blue) from co-investors Cannae Holdings Inc. and investment entities affiliated with Thomas H. Lee Partners LP.

The aggregate purchase consideration of $1.156 billion was a combination of 36,376,360 shares of Dun & Bradstreet Holdings Inc. stock valued at $722.5 million and $433.5 million in cash, funded by borrowings under Black Knight's revolving credit facility. The aggregate purchase consideration and number of shares of Dun & Bradstreet is based on the 20-day volume-weighted average price of Dun & Bradstreet shares ending on February 14, 2022.

"The performance of Optimal Blue has been outstanding by any measure. The integration has gone very well, and there continue to be opportunities to go even further with our industry-leading solutions," said Jabbour. "We are looking forward to the continued strong performance of Optimal Blue, and the great cross-sell opportunities we have as we move forward as one company."

Following the transaction, Black Knight owns approximately 18.5 million shares of Dun & Bradstreet with a fair value of $352.8 million based on the February 14, 2022 closing price of $19.10.

“When we invested in Dun & Bradstreet three years ago, we had a high degree of conviction that the investment would generate outstanding returns for our shareholders, and that is the result we have seen,” said Jabbour. “With the value of our Dun & Bradstreet investment more than doubling, we are taking those gains and investing them in this transaction, which is strategically important to Black Knight."

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.

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