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O.C. COUNTY BRIEFLY

Fidelity National Buys Majority Stake in CRM

November 06, 1996|JAMES S. GRANELLI

IRVINE — Fidelity National Financial Inc., the nation's fourth-largest title insurer, said Tuesday that it acquired an 80% stake in a Pasadena tax service and flood certification company for $3.52 million in cash and stock.

Fidelity' purchase of the majority of CRM Inc. follows an industry trend toward diversifying into real estate-related services.

CRM's tax service, which notifies lenders when borrowers fail to pay property taxes, will increase Fidelity's tax service by 50%, said Fidelity's president, Frank P. Willey. CRM's flood certification business, which determines whether borrowers need flood insurance, is new to Fidelity.

"This acquisition opens up contacts with customers that we don't have right now," Willey said. "This is very much an adjunct to the title business, and where the industry is going. We're just keeping pace with our competitors."

The Irvine title insurer paid $1 million in cash and the rest in stock. Fidelity, under certain circumstances, can buy the remaining CRM shares. For now, it will fold CRM's activities into a wholly owned subsidiary, Fidelity National Tax Service Inc.

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