Orange County Business Journal

First American Offers to Buy All or Part of CoreLogic

Mark Mueller Friday, October 21, 2011

Santa Ana-based First American Financial Corp. has offered to buy back all or part of neighboring data services and analytics company CoreLogic Inc., the title insurance company said on Thursday.

The two companies were created last year out of the split of First American Corp., in one of Orange County’s largest-ever spinoffs.

The split was an attempt to separate and better promote CoreLogic’s growing technology-focused business from First American’s dominant title insurance line of business.

First American Financial still owns about an 11% stake in CoreLogic and is its largest shareholder, according to regulatory filings. CoreLogic counts a market value of about $1.2 billion.

The two companies still share the same office campus in Santa Ana, although CoreLogic said it plans to move to the Irvine Spectrum next year.

CoreLogic, whose stock is down about 40% since the split, said in late August it was forming an independent committee to explore strategic options, including a possible merger or a sale.

The timing of that announcement, coming amid a difficult real estate market and a rocky stock market, isn’t the best, according to a First American Financial filing made with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday.

A deal “could result in a sale of the entire company at a price that would not be beneficial to (First American’s) long-term shareholders,” the company said in the regulatory filing.

First American Financial has recommended that CoreLogic consider other options, such as selling some non-core businesses, which it would buy.

In the event of an outright sale of the entire company, First American Financial said it has offered to buy CoreLogic.

Terms of any potential deal were not disclosed.

Shares of CoreLogic were up about 6% in after-market trading on Thursday. First American Financial shares were flat in after-market trading; it counts a market value of about $1.4 billion.