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HousingWire Annual Virtual Summit

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Closing

Stewart bolsters Midwest presence with acquisition

Ohio-based Title First Agency is the latest of the Big Four insurer's acquisition targets

The arms race is heating up in title. Big Four title insurer Stewart Title has acquired Title First Agency, headquartered in Westerville, Ohio.

Title First has office locations in Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Texas, and is licensed to operate in 34 states, the company said in a press release.

“Title First has grown into one of the largest independent title agencies in the nation, building strong partnerships across the United States to serve its residential, commercial, and lender customers in their purchase and refinance transactions,” said Steve Lessack, Stewart Group president. “Together we see tremendous growth opportunity, and by adding Title First to our Stewart family, we’ve also added veteran leadership and expertise that will bolster our operations and market presence in the Midwest, as we create the Premier Title Services company.”

Stewart Title reported $802 million in total revenue for the second quarter, including net income of $94.8 million at $3.50 per diluted share. That’s up from $54.2 million net income, at $2.01 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2021, and up from $34.1 million, at $1.44 per diluted share, for the second quarter 2020.

Stewart has been on an acquisition frenzy in the past 18 months, closing deals to acquire over a dozen companies — including CloudvirgaNotaryCamPro Tek Valuation IntelligenceUnited States Appraisals, and A.S.K. Services, just in March. In late 2020, Stewart acquired a significant number of Western U.S. operations from ET Investments, and even expanded itself into Alaska with the acquisition of Yukon Title.


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Sean Stoner, Title First Agency president, said the company has been growing its service offerings for years.

“Becoming part of Stewart is the next strategic step for a larger national platform,” Stoner said. “Throughout the smooth transaction process, working with Stewart has validated the decision to join forces was the right one for Title First. Seeing our core values and those of Stewart’s management are aligned, along with the backing and resources of Stewart, we will be able to provide the best transactional service to our growing roster of clients, and the best support for our employees.”

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