Cendant Settlement Services Group, a subsidiary of Cendant Corp., has plans to enter the Texas market with the acquisition of a few prominent title companies based in the state.

The Cendant subsidiary said Wednesday that it has signed a definitive stock purchase agreement with owner Herbert L. Williams to acquire American Title Co. of Houston, Texas American Title Co., Title Resources Guaranty Co., and their related title companies based in Texas.

The agreement is subject to state insurance regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, and the transactions are expected to close within 60 to 90 days.

The acquisitions establish Cendant Settlement’s entrance into the Texas market with a direct title operation and an in-state footprint highlighted by a large presence in Houston and Austin. Texas American Title Co. reportedly is the largest independent title agency in Texas.

The acquisition also markets Cendant Settlement’s initial venture as sole owner and operator of a title insurance underwriting business, Dallas-based Title Resources Guaranty Co.

“Today’s acquisition is a complementary addition to our real estate services value circle,” said Richard A. Smith, chairman and CEO of the Cendant Real Estate Services Division. “These title entities are located in local markets where they already have a leading position as a service provider for independent residential real estate brokerages.”

Williams and his management team will remain in their leadership roles in the acquired businesses, which will also retain their local operating company names.

The acquired title insurance agency businesses operate as American Title Co. of Houston, Texas American Title Co., Texas American Title Co. of Austin, South-Land Title Co., South-Land Title Co. of Montgomery County and South-Land of Fort Bend. The companies have provided title and closing services to Cendant Mobility for more than 15 years.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed, and it is not expected to have a material impact on the financial results of either Cendant or its Real Estate Services Division.

Laurel, N.J.-based Cendant Settlement Services Group is a national title and settlement services company.

Cendant Corp. is in the real estate franchise, travel, car rental and hotel services businesses. The company’s real estate holdings include the Coldwell Banker, Coldwell Banker Commercial, Century 21 and ERA brands, as well as NRT Inc.

Cendant last week announced plans to split into four independent publicly traded companies for each of its real estate, travel distribution, hospitality and car rental services.

Cendant stock (NYSE: CD) closed at $18.04 a share Wednesday.


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