First American to acquire Mother Lode Holding Company

Acquisition expands footprint in 11 states

First American Financial Corporation, the second largest of the “Big Four” title insurers, announced plans to acquire Mother Lode Holding Company and its subsidiaries on Wednesday.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, and the closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

Mother Lode Holding is a California-based provider of title insurance, underwriting and escrow services for residential and commercial real estate transactions with 92 offices in 11 states. Its 17 subsidiaries primarily operate in California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Texas, Arizona, Washington and New Mexico, with its primary subsidiary being Placer Title Company.

“Mother Lode Holding Company’s reach, expertise and commitment to superior customer service aligns well with our existing operations and will augment our efforts to expand our coverage in key growth markets,” Dennis Gilmore, the CEO of First American, said in a statement. “With Mother Lode Holding Company and its subsidiaries, we will expand our ability to serve customers throughout many of the strongest housing markets in the U.S.”

This acquisition will increase First American’s footprint in 11 states. After the transaction closes, Mother Lode Holding and its subsidiaries will continue operating under their existing brands. In addition, Mother Lode Holding CEO Randy Bradley, COO Lisa Steele and president Darrick Blatnick will remain with the company and manage the day-to-day operations.

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So far, 2022 has been a busy year for mergers and acquisitions in the title insurance industry. The smallest of the “Big Four,” Stewart, has acquired Nashville-based Homeland Title and also a majority share in Houston-based Great American Title Company.

Like First American, Stewart is also investing in growing housing markets across the country, as it is looking to regain some of its market share. During the third quarter of 2021, Stewart’s market share was 8.2%. This is down from 9.6% at the end of 2020 and 10.6% at the close of 2019, according to the American Land Title Association.

During the third quarter of 2021, First American reported a net income of $445.3 million compared to $182.3 million during the same time period a year prior. Additionally, the company reported $2.1 billion in direct title revenue, up 21% from Q3 2020.

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