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WSJ: Fidelity National, Thomas H Lee In Talks To Buy Lender Processing Services

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Title insurer Fidelity National Financial Inc. (FNF: Quote) and private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners are in advanced talks to buy mortgage servicing provider Lender Processing Services Inc. (LPS: Quote) for about $2.9 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter. A deal could be announced as early as next week.

According to the WSJ report, under the terms being discussed, the buyers would pay for the acquisition with a combination of cash and Fidelity National Financial stock. The deal would reportedly value Lender Processing Services at around $33 per share and bring the company back under the ownership of its one-time parent Fidelity National Financial.

On completion of the deal, Lender Processing Services would operate as a subsidiary of Fidelity National Financial. Both companies are based in Jacksonville, Florida. Thomas H Lee will likely hold a 19.9 percent stake in Lender Processing Services, the WSJ reported.

Lender Processing Services provides services and technology to home lenders and servicers, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC)and Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc. (NSM).

The company was spun off in 2008 from financial data processor Fidelity National Information Services Inc. (FIS: Quote), which was itself formed in 2006 by the merger of a subsidiary of Fidelity National Financial and St. Petersburg, Florida-based Certegy Inc.

In 2007, Fidelity National and Thomas H Lee jointly acquired Minnesota-based human resources information company Ceridian Corp. for about $5.3 billion. The two companies were also once partners in owning Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc.

Fidelity National said in May 2010 that it closed the sale of its 32 percent equity ownership stake in Sedgwick CMS to affiliates of Stone Point Capital LLC and Hellman & Friedman LLC for $1.1 billion in cash, including repayment of debt.

LPS closed Wednesday's trading at $29.11, down $0.95 or 3.16 percent on a volume of 1.52 million shares. In after-hours, the stock gained $3.89 or 13.36 percent to $33.00.

FNF closed Wednesday's trading at $24.37, down $1.13 or 4.43 percent on a volume of 3.83 million shares.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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