Fidelity National Financial Inc., the largest U.S. title insurer, won approval from U.S. antitrust regulators for its $2.9 billion acquisition of Lender Processing Services Inc.
The Federal Trade Commission cleared the deal on condition that Fidelity National sell a copy of databases serving six Oregon counties to preserve competition, according to a statement today by the agency.
Fidelity National, which is based in Jacksonville, Florida, agreed to buy LPS in May to expand in the business of providing and analyzing mortgage data. Fidelity National said this month it hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. to review possible divestitures as it narrows its focus to the housing market.
LPS provides technology and data used by lenders throughout the mortgage process, from origination to foreclosure. It reached a $127 million settlement with states in January to resolve claims of fraudulent practices related to foreclosures.
Title insurers such as Fidelity National and First American Financial Corp. use their records and public documents to verify a seller is a property’s true owner and that it is free from liens. The companies collect a premium at the closing of the purchase and pay costs that may arise if someone disputes the new owner’s right to the property.
Without the sale, Fidelity and one other underwriter could exclude competing firms from having an interest in a title database serving the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area, the FTC said.
Oregon law requires title insurers to own an interest in a database in each county in which they issue policies, the FTC said.
–Editors: Sara Forden, Fred Strasser
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