Old Republic's title insurance division up for sale?
The on-going losses associated with ORI's mortgage insurance operation are going to cause ORI to make some very hard decisions and one of those decisions is the sale of the title insurance operation. Only problem is who might be out there looking to purchase a title insurance operation right now especially since FNF, FAF, & STC can't purchase it because of anti-trust issues.
This is why I asked the question about whether or not their mortgage losses can expand beyond the capital already in their mortgage division. If they can cap their losses there, they might not need to restructure.
With Buffett's attempt to buy Transatlantic, I think these insurance companies are in play. They are too cheap. I know Transatlantic is different than ORI in that they aren't in mortgage insurance. But if the potential losses in ORI's mortgage division can be fixed, then a buyout price could be calculated. Without the mortgage division, I think ORI is an attractive takeover target.
On top of the fact that insurance companies are cheap, ORI also seems to be very inefficient. They have multiple subsidiaries in their property casualty (general insurance) division. If someone like Buffett came in, they could consolidate operations and run it much cheaper - and sell that building on Michigan Ave. in Chicago for some big bucks. I think it's even cheaper than it looks.
Even if ORI doesn't restructure or get bought out, I think the stock has fallen too much. I bought more today.
I'm putting the odds that ORI sells its Title Insurance division now at 95%. Rumors popping up all over the industry that ORI has initiated talks about selling the operation to several different prospective buyers. Just to quash speculation: FNF, FAF, & STC are not the prospective buyers. STC may wind up being acquired by another company but the merger of STC & ORI do not make economic sense.
Stewart could buy them since they don't have a big market share, like 12%, ORI is 6%, that would make a good merger if Stewart was smart..but don't count on it...Zacaro would be smart to sell the title ins. co. to weather the mortgage ins hit.