Deal would increase Fidelity's share of the market from about 32% to 42%.
A year and a half after the merger was announced, Fidelity National Financial Inc. Friday said the Federal Trade Commission is suing to block its acquisition of Stewart Information Services Corp.
Jacksonville-based Fidelity is already the largest title insurance company in the U.S. and the acquisition of smaller competitor Stewart would increase its share of the market from about 32% to 42%.
Fidelity has previously said an FTC antitrust review was holding up completion of the deal. The merger also has to be approved by numerous state regulators and the New York State Department of Financial Services rejected it in January, but other states approved it.
Fidelity has said it was working with FTC and New York officials to resolve their concerns about the merger.
In a brief news release late Friday, Fidelity said FTC commissioners voted 3-1 to authorize its staff to file a lawsuit seeking to block the acquisition.
Houston-based Stewart also issued a news release but added a statement:
“While we are disappointed with this outcome and disagree with the FTC’s decision, we are reviewing the lawsuit with FNF in the context of the parties’ rights and obligations under our merger agreement. We will communicate our next steps to our stakeholders in the near future as soon as this review is complete,” it said.