Skilling: current plan has “greater potential for stockholder value creation”

Santa Ana-based CoreLogic Inc.’s two largest shareholders have opposing views on the best long-term strategy for the real estate data and analytics company, a divergence that appears to set the stage for drama over upcoming months.

CoreLogic last week said it has decided to stay the course as an independent company after a nearly six-month review of strategic options that included a potential sale or merger of the company, which has a market value of about $1.63 billion.

The announcement drew scorn from Boston-based Highfields Capital Management LP, which owns about 7.7% of CoreLogic’s shares.

“We are very disappointed that the CoreLogic management and board have once again failed to generate value for shareholders,” Highfields Chief Executive Jonathon Jacobson said.

Highfields—which oversees about $11 billion in investments for institutional and private investors—said it is exploring its own options going forward.

Possible Proxy Fight

That could result in a proxy fight or a shake-up in CoreLogic’s executive team or seven-person board of directors.

Highfields has until March 9 to nominate new board members.

CoreLogic provides a variety of consumer, financial and property data to lenders, corporations and government agencies. It was formed in mid-2010 following a split from what is now Santa Ana-based title insurance company First American Financial Corp., which retained a sizeable stake in the company.

A sale of CoreLogic was encouraged by Highfields last year.

First American Financial—which now owns about the same amount of CoreLogic shares as Highfields after shedding about a third of its shares last year—opposed an outright sale to a third party. It went as far as offering to buy back all or part of the company instead.

A CoreLogic committee that oversaw the recent strategic view agreed with First American Financial in opposing a sale.

Greater Potential

CoreLogic Inc.

• Headquarters: Santa Ana

• Founded: 2010

• Business: real estate data, analytics

• Ticker symbol: CLGX (NYSE)

• Market value: about $1.63 billion

• Notable: Two major shareholders disagree on whether company should be sold

CoreLogic’s current business plan—a mix of cost cutting and focusing on more profitable business lines while shedding others—offers “greater potential for stockholder value creation than any of the other alternatives,” said Chairman D. Van Skilling.

CoreLogic has made about $20 million in cost cuts over the last year, thanks in part to a layoff of 7% of its employees that left it with about 700 workers here.

It nearly doubled its cash on hand thanks to the moves.