updated 3/17/2008 8:28:38 AM ET 2008-03-17T12:28:38

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross will pay $1.1 billion for H&R Block's troubled Option One mortgage servicing business, which has been rocked by the nationwide mortgage crisis.

Option One currently services about $53 billion of subprime mortgages, ranking it the fourth-largest in the nation.

WL Ross & Co. earlier agreed to acquire $42 billion mortgage servicing rights from American Home Mortgage Investment Corp., and the combined total of $95 billion will create the country's second-largest subprime servicing portfolio, after Countrywide Financial.

Ross has taken advantage of the crisis in the credit markets to buy up assets. In February, he agreed to make up to a $1 billion investment in Bermuda-based bond insurer Assured Guaranty, considered one of the strongest left in its sector.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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