BrokerageIndustry News

Fidelity closes in on LandAmerica deal

Antitrust regulators must still grant approval

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Fidelity National Financial Inc. has the green light from Nebraska insurance regulators and a federal bankruptcy court in Virginia to buy LandAmerica Financial Group Inc.'s two largest underwriting subsidiaries, Lawyers Title Insurance Corp. and Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Co., for $282 million. Should antitrust regulators approve the deal, Fidelity would surpass First American Corp. as the nation's biggest title insurance underwriter. But the sale, which Fidelity says must close by Dec. 22, is opposed by the two smallest of the "big five" title insurers -- Stewart Title Guaranty Co. and Old Republic International Corp. -- who argue that the resulting industry consolidation could restrict competition. Lawyers representing LandAmerica's creditors had also asked the bankruptcy court to delay the sale for seven to 10 days, saying a better offer than Fidelity's could be in the works (see story). Should Fidelity complete its acquisition of Lawyers, Commonwea...