Stewart Title makes second acquisition in under a week

Title insurer acquires a majority interest in Houston-based Great American Title Company

Less than a week after acquiring Nashville-based Homeland Title, Stewart Title is at it again. On Tuesday, the smallest of the “Big Four” title insurers announced that it had acquired a majority interest in Houston-based Great American Title Company (GATCO).

GATCO was founded in 2006 and operates in 38 counties across Texas, providing title and escrow services to the Greater Houston metropolitan area. Stewart is based in Houston.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“By adding GATCO to the Stewart family of companies, we join forces with one of the area’s most respected brands and further strengthen our presence throughout the Greater Houston area,” Stewart Group president Steve Lessack said in a statement.

Ronnie Matthews, the chairman and principal of GATCO added: “This acquisition only strengthens our core philosophy of making the transaction process seamless and efficient. With the ability to leverage Stewart’s financial strength and an expanded set of tools, we can continue to improve the transaction experience.”

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After making two acquisitions within the first two weeks of 2022, it appears that Stewart is starting the new year right where it left off in 2021. In the final months of 2021, Stewart acquired Michigan-based Devon Title AgencyNew Mexico-based Las Cruces Abstract and TitleWashington-based Rainier Title and Chicago-based Greater Illinois Title Co.

Through just the subsidiaries of Greater Illinois Title, Stewart will further its reach in Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Earlier in 2021, Stewart acquired 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 in California, 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 looks 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.

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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