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Stewart Information (STC) Consolidates Commercial Operations

·3 min read

Stewart Information Services Corporation STC has acquired Thomas Title & Escrow team and offices in Scottsdale, Houston and Dallas in its efforts to consolidate its presence in the commercial operations. This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) global real estate services aims to be the premier title services company. The recent acquisition is in line with this strategy.

Founded in 2006, Thomas Title & Escrow is one of the leading full-service commercial title companies. The addition of Thomas Title & Escrow will add capabilities and increase scale of the acquirer. Steve Lessack, Stewart Group’s president stated, “Thomas has a strong reputation and a national presence that complements our current operations and creates a market-leader in commercial services.”

The recent acquisition is in sync with the acquirer’s growth strategy of investing in improving scale and competitive position in priority markets and services. Its acquisition of 57 title offices in the states of Arizona, Colorado and Nevada from ET Investments last September was also to improve scale and competitive position in priority markets where it has been underrepresented. Stewart Information Services boasts a strong balance sheet with $590 million over regulatory requirements and $220 million available on its recently upsized line of credit supporting growth initiatives.

The company pursues strategic buyouts to ramp up growth profile. Last month, the company acquired Cloudvirga in its efforts to consolidate its presence in the mortgage finance space.

Shares of Stewart Information Services have rallied 25.1% year to date, outperforming the industry's increase of 20.4%. Its solid Title insurance business and a sturdy financial position will help shares retain the momentum.

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Given insurance industry’s adequate capital level, players are pursuing strategic mergers and acquisitions. Recently, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. AJG acquired LDJ American Online Benefits Group, LLC (AOBG). It also agreed to buy certain reinsurance, specialty and retail brokerage operations of Willis Towers Watson plc WLTW. Brown & Brown, Inc. BRO acquired substantially all Piper Jordan assets.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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