With ICE’s acquisition of Black Knight pending, title insurer exercises right to buy back title search and order management solution.

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The pending merger of two mortgage technology giants has provided an opportunity for the nation’s biggest title insurer, Fidelity National Financial (FNF), to expand its tech portfolio by buying back a business it spun off nearly a decade ago.

A subsidiary of FNF will pay Black Knight Inc. $225 million to acquire TitlePoint, a title search and order management solution that provides access to title plants and land record documents, the companies announced Friday.

Mike Nolan

“The acquisition of TitlePoint is just one more way FNF is investing in, expanding, and integrating property data, images, and search technology into FNF’s existing assets,” FNF CEO Mike Nolan said in a statement. “Combined with other FNF digital technologies, this acquisition improves productivity and automation and streamlines the manufacturing of title plant information across our industry leading footprint.”

FNF was a majority owner of Black Knight before spinning the company off in 2015 and divesting its remaining shares in 2017. Under a 2014 agreement, FNF retained the right to repurchase TitlePoint if Black Knight was later acquired by another company. When Black Knight this year agreed to be acquired by rival Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (ICE), FNF notified Black Knight of its desire to repurchase TitlePoint.

Joe Nackashi

“This transaction enables us to focus our investments in our mortgage-specific software and our core data and analytics capabilities, while also reducing our revenues that are sensitive to origination volumes,” Black Knight CEO Joe Nackashi said in a statement.

During the third quarter of 2022, TitlePoint generated about $10 million in revenue, including $7.2 million that “were more sensitive to fluctuations in home buying activity and origination volumes,” Black Knight said.

While ICE’s acquisition of Black Knight is still pending approval by antitrust regulators, “The sale of TitlePoint is not conditioned on the completion of ICE’s acquisition of Black Knight,” Black Knight disclosed in a regulatory filing.

On a Nov. 2 earnings call, ICE CEO Jeffrey Sprecher said the Black Knight merger remains subject to review by the Federal Trade Commission, but is expected to close during the first half of 2023.

Since acquiring TitlePoint in 2014 (through FNF’s acquisition of Black Knight’s predecessor, Lender Processing Services), Black Knight said it has continually enhanced and advanced its technological capabilities and coverage.

In 2017, Black Knight announced the launch of TitlePoint version 5.0, which merged the technology underlying Black Knight’s title search and order management applications. Black Knight also announced that it would provide TitlePoint clients with access to expanded title data as part of an ongoing plant modernization project with FNF.

FNF’s stable of real estate technology companies includes SoftPro, a provider of closing, title, and escrow software solutions; NextAce, a pioneer in automating title search and examination; ServiceLink Auction, a full-service auction platform for short sales and foreclosed homes; CINC (Commissions Inc.) a provider of real estate marketing and CRM software for real estate agents and brokers; Real Geeks, a lead generation and management solution for real estate agents; and SkySlope, a digital transaction management platform for real estate brokerages.

In 2020, FNF issued 27 million shares of common stock and paid $1.8 billion in cash to acquire FGL Holdings, a provider of annuity and life insurance products, as a source of revenue that’s counter-cyclical to FNF’s title insurance business. It’s FNF subsidiary F&G Annuities & Life Inc. that’s acquiring TitlePoint.

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