June 16, 1999, SANTA ANA, Calif.

The First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF), the leading provider of business information and related products and services, announced today that its largest subsidiary, First American Title Insurance Company, has purchased Gadsden Abstract Co. in Quincy, Fla., from owner Edward Clayton ("Clay") VanLandingham. Terms of the acquisition, which closed April 30, 1999, were not disclosed.

"This acquisition expands our national network of direct title branches and brings us closer to fulfilling our strategy of offering a fully automated, centralized title-searching capability to our customers," stated Parker S. Kennedy, president of First American Financial. "Gadsden Abstract has the finest compilation of back title records in its county, adding to First American's national network of title information." First American's Smart Title Solutions subsidiary is the nation's largest owner of title indexes, which includes more than 450 million records in its primary databases. First American's Data Tree subsidiary, the nation's largest repository of imaged recorded title documents with over 600 million records in its database, will use the Gadsden Abstract records to expand its reach.

"The acquisition of Gadsden Abstract fits perfectly with our strategy to better service our national clients and ultimately centralize and automate our searching process," stated Gary L. Kermott, president of First American Title Insurance Company, "This, in turn, should greatly improve the margins in our title insurance business."

Gadsden Abstract, which serves the Gadsden County community, will operate as First American Title Insurance Company d.b.a. Gadsden Abstract Co. There will be no operational changes. VanLandingham, who has more than 30 years of title industry experience, will continue with the company as assistant vice president and office manager. In addition to assisting with abstractor training, VanLandingham will also serve in the capacity of plant development coordinator.

Gadsden Abstract Co. was founded by Tewey McPherson in 1954 in Quincy, Fla. In 1960, Hubert S. VanLandingham purchased and consolidated both Gadsden Abstract Co. and Greer Abstract Co., leaving Gadsden Abstract as the only title company in the county. Gadsden Abstract also maintains the only title plant, with records dating back to the 1850s. In addition to owning more than 15,000 abstracts, the company also maintains records of title searches for the past 35 years.

"Besides giving us the only title plant in the county, the purchase of Gadsden Abstract will allow First American to participate in the area's growth, which we expect to accelerate considerably in the near future," said Mike Conway, regional vice president of Florida for First American. "First American's strategy is to develop the largest and most integrated database of property information in the nation, and the acquisition of Gadsden Abstract brings us one step closer to achieving that goal, not to mention solidifying First American's market position in the Tallahassee area and surrounding counties."

The First American Financial Corporation, based in Santa Ana, Calif., is the nation's leading provider of business information and related products and services. The corporation's subsidiaries include First American Title Insurance Company, a national and international title insurer; First American Real Estate Information Services, Inc., which offers tax monitoring, mortgage credit reporting, property data services, flood certification, field inspection services, appraisal services, loss mitigation services, mortgage loan origination and servicing systems, and mortgage document preparation nationally; First American Home Buyers Protection Corporation, a home warranty company; First American Capital Management, an investment advisory firm; and First American Trust Company and First Security Thrift Company in Southern California. The company also offers automotive and direct-to-consumer credit reporting, multifamily resident screening and pre-employment screening through its Consumer Information and Services division. First American Financial has nearly 20,000 employees in more than 600 branch offices in the United States and abroad. Information about the company's subsidiaries and an archive of its press releases can be found on the Internet at


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