Industry News

LandAmerica shareholder says company ripe for acquisition

Title insurer's board urged to consider sale to larger competitor

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One of LandAmerica Financial Group Inc.'s biggest shareholders says the title insurer's larger rivals are interested in acquiring it and that "the likelihood of consummating such a deal is high" if the company were to go along. In a letter urging LandAmerica's board of directors to explore the sale of the company, Viking Global Performance LLC claims the synergies resulting from a merger with a larger competitor could exceed $200 million, doubling earnings per share. Viking is an investment firm that owns nearly 8 percent of LandAmerica's outstanding shares. Viking said it has "generally been pleased with management's execution" in the two years it has been a shareholder. The letter singled out a cost-cutting program, "Project Fusion," and the centralization of LandAmerica's title insurance subsidiaries to Nebraska as moves that "substantially improved shareholder returns." LandAmerica issues title insurance policies through three principal title underwriting subsidiaries -- Commonwea...