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H&R Block Says Soft Subprime Market Delaying Sale of Mortgage Unit

Tax preparation company H&R Block said it was still in talks to sell its subprime lending unit but that market conditions had affected its plan to conclude a deal by the end of March.

H&R Block cited "recent events in the subprime industry" for the delay. It did not say when it now expects to wrap up sale talks for its Option One Mortgage Corp. unit.

H&R Block shares were down as much as 4% in electronic premarket trading.

The sale delay is the latest blow to the largest U.S. tax preparer from the wave of defaults among less creditworthy borrowers, which has battered the once-booming subprime lending industry.

Earlier this month, H&R Block said it expected to delay filing its quarterly results with regulators after turmoil in the subprime market forced it to write down assets at Option One.

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