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Fidelity National Financial eyeing more real estate brokerage companies

Fidelity National Financial Inc. is looking for more deal-making opportunities with real estate brokerage companies, especially in western and midwestern states.

During a conference call to discuss earnings, Chairman William Foley said the company is planning to expand its real estate brokerage network primarily in Arizona, Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington and Texas, as well as in Illinois and Florida, to focus on supplementing its title insurance operations.

"It is an area of focus for us, and the companies can be bought with earn-outs at ... a lesser multiple than our own stock trades for," Foley said.

Fidelity National Financial is also expecting a redomestication to free up as much as $250 million in cash by the end of February.

Foley added that the company expects to close the tax-free distribution of Black Knight Financial Services shares in the third quarter. Fidelity National is spinning off Black Knight and plans to distribute the entity's 83.3 million shares to FNF Group stockholders.

The company has filed a private letter ruling request with the Internal Revenue Service and is drafting other legal agreements as part of the process, he said. The conversion of Fidelity National Financial Ventures into common shares from tracking shares is expected to occur once the Black Knight spin-off is finished.

Fidelity National Financial's Black Knight Financial ownership stake is $11 per Fidelity National Financial share, Foley said. After the spin-off, if the per-share price of Fidelity National Financial drops by $11, the company plans to launch a more aggressive share repurchase program, possibly in the form of block trades or daily buybacks.