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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS

Chicago Title to Take Lower Price in Purchase by Fidelity

March 17, 2000|Edmund Sanders

Chicago Title Corp. said late Thursday it has agreed to accept a slightly lower price for its acquisition by Fidelity National Financial Inc., an Irvine title insurance company.

The deal, which would create the nation's largest title insurer, is expected to close Monday.

Because Fidelity's stock price has fallen since the merger was announced last year, the value of the cash-and-stock deal dropped from about $52 a share to $49.29 a share, reducing the total price from about $1.2 billion to less than $1.1 billion. Chicago Title officials agreed to accept the lower price without asking for additional cash or stock.

But shareholders of the Chicago-based title insurer will likely make up the shortfall--and then some--thanks to Fidelity's recent stock surge.

Fidelity stock closed Thursday at $16.56, up nearly 9% in New York Stock Exchange trading. Based on that price, Chicago shareholders would be receiving about $55 a share, consisting of $26 in cash and 1.8 shares--worth about $29 Thursday--of Fidelity stock.

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