FTC Approves Final Order Settling Charges that Fidelity National Financial’s Acquisition of Lender Processing Services Was Anticompetitive

Washington, DC - Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final consent order settling charges that Fidelity National Financial’s acquisition of Lender Processing Services was anticompetitive.

According to the FTC’s December 2013 complaint, the proposed combination of Fidelity’s and LPS’s title plant assets in six individual Oregon counties and the tri-county Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area is likely to substantially lessen competition, in violation of U.S. antitrust laws. Oregon law requires title insurers to own an interest in a title plant in each county in which they issue policies. This requirement creates a barrier to entry for new firms seeking to provide title insurance underwriting.

The proposed acquisition would eliminate one of only a few available title plants in six Oregon counties. In addition, under the rules that govern access to a jointly owned title plant in the Portland metropolitan area, the acquisition would give Fidelity and just one other underwriter the power to deny competitors continued access.

To preserve competition, the final settlement order requires Fidelity to sell a copy of LPS’s title plants in six Oregon counties and an ownership interest equivalent to LPS’s share of a jointly owned title plant in the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area.

The Commission vote approving the final consent order was 3-1, with Commissioner Wright dissenting. Two comments were received during the public comment period and the FTC staff’s responses are posted here. (FTC File No. 131-0159; the staff contact is Jessica Drake, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-3144)

The FTC’s Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action. To inform the Bureau about particular business practices, call 202-326-3300, send an e-mail to antitrust{at}ftc{dot}gov, or write to the Office of Policy and Coordination, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 601 New Jersey Ave., Room 7117, Washington, DC 20001.

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