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LandAmerica announces layoffs, stock repurchase

Title insurer a potential takeover target

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LandAmerica Financial Group Inc. plans to lay off about 1,100 employees in a cost-cutting move and repurchase nearly 20 percent of its outstanding common stock -- moves that could help the company fend off a hostile takeover attempt. LandAmerica said Tuesday it had already eliminated about 300 positions since July 1, and was on track to cut the equivalent of 1,100 positions in the second half of 2007 -- about 13 percent of the company's residential and lender service groups. The company also said its board of directors has approved the repurchase of up to 1.5 million shares, or approximately 9 percent of outstanding common stock, between now and the end of March 2009. That's on top of a previously announced plan to repurchase another 1.5 million shares. To carry out that plan, announced in February, LandAmerica has repurchased 315,600 shares for $17.9 million since July 1, the company said, with another 710,400 shares remaining. In its last quarterly report to investors,...