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Stewart Title buys largest title company in Illinois

Just days after buying Devon Title, Stewart announces yet another acquisition

Just days after announcing its acquisition of Michigan-based Devon Title Agency, Stewart Title is back at it, announcing its acquisition of Greater Illinois Title Co. and subsidiaries on Tuesday.

Chicago-based GITC is the largest title company in Illinois. Its subsidiaries include Greater Indiana Title, GIT Michigan, Greater Wisconsin Title, Greater Missouri Title and GIT Florida Title Services. In addition, Greater Illinois Title’s National Title Services Group does business in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“By joining forces with GITC, the largest title agency in Illinois, we further demonstrate our commitment to investing and gaining scale in attractive markets in order to provide best-in-class products and services to our customers,” Stewart Group president Steve Lessack said in a statement.

For Stewart, the smallest of the “Big Four” title companies, this acquisition is strategic, as it takes market share away from Fidelity and Old Republic, since Greater Illinois Title had previously offered title insurance policies underwritten by Fidelity subsidiary Chicago Title Insurance and Old Republic.

The acquisitions of Devon and GITC are just the latest in Stewart’s string of acquisitions. Roughly a month ago, Stewart acquired New Mexico-based Las Cruces Abstract and Title. Earlier in November the firm announced its acquisition of Rainier Title, bolstering its presence in the Pacific Northwest.

Both of these acquisitions come just months after acquiring Stewart Title of Sacramento (STS) and Stewart Title of Placer (STP), two independently branded agents of Stewart Title Guaranty Company serving Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and Yolo counties, and Title First Agency Inc, which is licensed to operate in 34 states and has strategic partnerships throughout the country, in July.

By investing in key markets across the country, Stewart will look 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, the industry’s primary trade group.

In addition, Stewart has been working to expand its data and analytics capabilities. Earlier this month it announced its acquisition of PropStream, a real estate data and analytics aggregator, for $175 million. This comes just a little over two months after the company announced its acquisition of Informative Research, a mortgage-focused data and analytics tech company based in Houston, for $192 million.

During the third quarter of 2021, Stewart reported a net income of $88.7 million compared to $55.9 million during the same time period a year prior. Additionally, the company reported $366.1 million in direct title revenue, up 31% from Q3 2020.

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