LandAmerica plans to file for bankruptcy protection

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LandAmerica Financial Group announced Wednesday it will seek bankruptcy protection.

In the same statement, the Henrico County-based title insurer said it would sell three subsidiaries to rival title insurer Fidelity National Financial Inc. of Jacksonville, Fla.

Fidelity had previously agreed to purchase LandAmerica, but backed out of the deal last Friday after examining the company’s finances further.

Under the new deals, which could close as early as December, Fidelity subsidiary Chicago Title Insurance Co. will purchase Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Co. for $158.6 million. Another subsidiary, Fidelity National Title Insurance Co. will purchase Lawyers Title Insurance Corp. and United Capital Title Insurance Co. for $139.4 million.

To close the deal and protect its remaining assets, LandAmerica is seeking bankruptcy protection for its holding company and LandAmerica 1031 Exchange Services Inc., after it announced it would close its exchange business. The company plans to continue normal operations while under bankruptcy.

“I am deeply disappointed over the need to file for bankruptcy protection for the LandAmerica holding company and the 1031 company,” LandAmerica Chairman and CEO Theodore L. Chandler Jr. said in a statement. “However, this sale of our principal domestic title operations to Fidelity National in this coordinated Chapter 11 filing…offers our stakeholders the best result available in this brutal real estate, credit and capital market environment.”

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