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by CareyBot

It’s been a momentous week for title insurer Fidelity National Financial Inc., which named a new chief executive officer and took a major stake in a $5.3 billion acquisition of information services provider Ceridian Corp.

Fidelity, which estimates that it issues about 29 percent of all U.S. title insurance policies through underwriters including Fidelity National Title, Chicago Title and Ticor Title, announced Thursday the promotion of Alan L. Stinson from co-chief operating officer to chief executive officer.

Current CEO William P. Foley will continue as chairman of the company’s board of directors, the company said in a press release. Raymond R. Quirk, currently co-chief operating officer, has been named co-president of the company, a title he will share with current president Brent B. Bickett.

The announcement of changes in top management follows news that Fidelity is partnering with Thomas H. Lee Partners to buy Ceridian Corp. for $5.3 billion.

Ceridian provides human resource services including payroll and benefits administration to other businesses, and its Comdata subsidiary is a major payment processor and issuer of credit cards, debit cards and stored value cards.

In a press release announcing the move, Foley said Ceridian has a profile similar to that of Alltel Information Services, which Fidelity acquired in 2003 and used as a cornerstone in building what is now Fidelity National Information Services.

Fidelity National Financial will own less than a 50 percent stake in Ceridian when the deal closes with the help of other co-investors, the company said.

Fitch Ratings left unchanged its ratings on debt issued by Fidelity National Title Group Inc., saying that Fidelity National Financial’s debt-to-capital ratio, which stood at 13 percent as of March 31, is expected to remain under 25 percent.

Fidelity National Financial and its partners paid a 5 percent premium for Ceridian based on the company’s stock price before the deal was announced, Fitch said in its comments on the deal.

“Title insurance remains the primary business of FNF, however, given FNF’s acquisitive nature, a transaction outside the title insurance sector bringing additional leverage into the capital structure was factored into the ratings,” Fitch analysts commented.

Fidelity National Financial pursued a similar strategy in partnering with Thomas H. Lee Partners to purchase a minority stake in Sedgwick CMS, a provider of outsourced claims management services, Fitch noted.