First American Acquires Two Florida-Based Title Companies


January 26, 2000, SANTA ANA, Calif.

First American Title Insurance Company, one of the nation's largest title insurers, today announced that it has purchased Associated Land Title Group and Bay County Land & Abstract from owner Don Crisp. Terms of the acquisition, which closed on Jan. 3, 2000, were not disclosed.

The acquisition of both Associated Land Title Group and Bay County Land & Abstract marks the sixth and seventh title company purchases in Florida by First American. "The acquisition of Associated Land Title Group and Bay County Land & Abstract expands our national network of direct title branches, giving us 115 direct offices throughout the state of Florida," said Gary L. Kermott, president of First American Title Insurance Company.

"Together, both companies have more than a dozen, well-integrated title plants across the state, including three counties consolidated in Panama City, which are computerized using an Oracle-based database system developed by Ray Crisp, who was Bay County's president. Further, from a title plant standpoint, the acquisition complements our purchase last year of Crystal River Title and our 1998 purchase of Florida Title & Abstract, adding more than 1.5 million title records to First American's national network of title information.

"The consolidated title records of these acquisitions, when combined with the more than 450 million records in the databases of First American's Smart Title Solutions subsidiary, the nation's largest provider of title index systems, and the more than 600 million records in the database of the company's Data Tree subsidiary, the nation's largest repository of imaged recorded title documents, will further enhance our strategy of improving operating margins by automating the title searching process on a national basis."

Associated Land Title Group and Bay County Land & Abstract have 47 offices throughout the Florida panhandle, serving the counties of Bay, Columbia, Lake, Okaloosa, Putnam, Santa Rosa, St. Johns, Volusia, Walton and Washington. Both companies will retain their current names and operate as wholly owned subsidiaries of First American Title, with no operational changes. Don Henderson, who had served as president of Associated; Ray Crisp, who had served as president of Bay County; and Don Crisp, who had served as chairman and CEO of both companies, have been named vice presidents.

Associated Land Title Group was formed in 1984 through the acquisition of specific assets of Title & Trust Company of Florida, which was founded in 1922, and the merger of Bay County Land & Abstract, which was formed in 1913.

"We're very excited about joining the First American team with its vast network of agents," said Ray Crisp. "The acquisition will enable us to spread the cost of maintaining our title plants by allowing us to service other First American agents in more areas. We will also be able to refocus our energies more on our long-term goals through access to First American's technological resources and strength of reputation."

First American Title Insurance Company, the largest subsidiary of The First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF), traces its history to 1889. One of the largest title insurers in the nation, the company offers title services through more than 500 offices and an extensive network of agents throughout the United States and abroad. The company has its headquarters in Santa Ana, Calif. Information about The First American Financial Corporation's subsidiaries and an archive of its press releases can be found on the Internet at www.firstam.com.

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