The off and on combination of Land America Financial Group with Fidelity National Title Title is back again. LandAmerica press release: LandAmerica Signs Stock Purchase Agreement for Underwriters.
The two signed a merger, then Fidelity terminated, now they restructured the transaction again. This time, Fidelity is purchasing the Lawyers Title and Commonwealth Land Title subsidiaries.
The parent holding company and its 1031 exchange company are filing for bankruptcy. That sounds like bad news for anyone with cash sitting in a LandAmerica 1031 account. It turns out that the company had $290 million invested in auction rate securities as part of the its 1031 business.[Fitch Downgrades LandAmerica's IFS to 'BB'; on Watch Negative] Perhaps that is what Fidelity saw during its diligence and decided to cancel the original deal.
That means Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company and Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation will combine with Fidelity National Title, Chicago Title, Ticor Title, Security Union Title and Alamo Title.
Its unclear how the transactions will impact employees and agents of LandAmerica, Lawyers Title and Commonwealth Title. David Stejkowski of the The Dirt Lawyer's Blog thinks it will be good for agents to "have the backing of the 800 pound gorilla in writing policies."
The combined company will have almost half of the real estate title insurance market, based on the Demotech Performance of Title Insurance Companies 2008 Edition.
See my prior posts: