[Update 1: Adds information about Project 30 from Tuesday morning earnings call.]
CoreLogic (CLGX) said the independent committee of the company’s board concluded its review of strategic alternatives and will focus the company’s efforts on enhancing stockholder value rather than seeking a sale or merger of the company.
The independent committee began its review in August 2011 with the assistance of financial adviser Greenhill & Co. and its legal counsel, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. CoreLogic originally called the committee and retained a financial adviser to consider a wide range of options for the future of the mortgage services firm, including a potential sale of the company.
“The independent committee and its advisers looked at many strategic options, but in the end, we believe that the company’s enhanced business plan offered greater potential for stockholder value creation than any of the other alternatives,” said D. Van Skilling, chairman of CoreLogic. “The company entered 2012 with excellent momentum, with improved market performance and the successful execution of its cost reduction programs.” The committee maintained from September 2011 that selling the company was always an outside option.
CoreLogic reported on Monday that it narrowed its fourth-quarter losses and full-year losses compared to the prior-year comparable periods.
The committee looked at a range of alternatives to enhance stockholder value, including a sale or merger of the company or some of its business lines. It also looked at repurchases of debt and common stock and other transactions.
In December, First American Financial dropped its plan to buy CoreLogic, two months after it made an offer.
The committee also reviewed CoreLogic’s operating plan for 2012 and beyond, which provides for the divestiture of noncore, lower-margin businesses and continued cost-cutting.
CoreLogic also pointed to the addition of new senior management and an improving economic landscape in its announcement to conclude the strategic review process.
“The company is optimistic about its prospects for the coming year, and its strong cash position gives it additional flexibility to drive stockholder value,” Van Skilling said.
While management didn’t take specific questions on the strategic review during Tuesday morning’s earnings conference call, it did address its multiyear cost-savings efforts under its Project 30 expense-reduction plan.
CoreLogic said it expects an estimated $60 million in cost savings during 2012 from Project 30.
The company reported $20 million in Project 30 cost savings in 2011 and said it laid the groundwork in 2011 for the 2012 cost reductions. About 30% to 40% of those reductions are expected in the first half of the year, with the remainder over the second half.
CoreLogic expects to achieve a total of $80 million to $100 million in Project 30 savings by 2012 or 2013. Of that, roughly 80% is categorized as consolidation of corporate and shared support functions and savings from technology workforce and infrastructure changes, CoreLogic CFO Frank Martell said during Tuesday’ earnings call.
“Project 30 … is the single biggest driver of our expected EBITDA growth,” Martell said.
CoreLogic said it’s also possible that the business may see some upside from the national attorneys general mortgage servicing settlement. It could provide some incremental volumes in the company’s default services segment, said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO.
Reuters reported Tuesday that a key shareholder expressed disappointed with CoreLogic’s decision to end the strategic review.
Highfields Capital Management, one of the company’s largest shareholders, called for a change in company leadership, according to the Reuters report.