Orange County Business Journal

Battle Lines Set on CoreLogic’s Future

CORPORATE: Highfields not happy, pushes for exec changes Mark Mueller Saturday, March 3, 2012

CoreLogic last week reported a net loss of $14.1 million for the fourth quarter on revenues of $345 million. Losses were roughly cut in half from the year-ago period.

“The company entered 2012 with excellent momentum, with improved market performance and the successful execution of its cost reduction programs,” Skilling said.

Narrowed Loss

The narrowed loss and talk of momentum hasn’t satisfied Highfield or stopped it from laying blame on CoreLogic’s management.

“Given its history of mismanagement, CoreLogic requires a change in leadership,” said Jacobson, whose firm has called for CoreLogic Chief Executive Anand Nallathambi to be replaced.

The investor cited a litany of what it calls missteps at CoreLogic, including a “dismal record” of stock buybacks and acquisitions that have driven down its shares since its split from First American.

CoreLogic’s stock is down about 20% over the past year, but the company has gained back much of the losses seen during a brutal stretch last summer, when it lowered its financial outlook for the year.

First American Financial shares are largely unchanged over the past year.

CoreLogic’s relationship to First American is part of the problem, according to Highfields.

“We have no faith in the management team or this board to hold the management team accountable,” Farhad Nanji, a managing director at Highfields, told the New York Times last week.

Nallathambi was tapped for the top spot at CoreLogic after running First Advantage Corp., a one-time public company that was majority-owned by First American and later brought in-house.

Highlands previously controlled a large stake in First American Corp., the predecessor company of First American Financial.

Highlands used its influence to change that company’s operational structure in 2008, including the addition of five new board members.

Driving Force

The investor also was believed to be a driving force in the early-2008 decision to split the company’s title insurance and data operations into separate businesses.

The separation of the two companies was delayed for about two years amid the turbulent economy and tough mortgage and real estate conditions.

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