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Fidelity may be target of $9billion buyout

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Fidelity may be target of $9 billion buyout

By MARK BASCH

The Times-Union

Fidelity National Financial Inc.'s stock jumped higher Tuesday morning after the New York Times reported that two private investment firms are considering a $9 billion buyout of the Jacksonville-based financial services company.

The report said Thomas H. Lee Partners and Texas Pacific Group are both considering bids to buy all or part of Fidelity, which provides title insurance and technology services for financial firms. The newspaper, citing bankers involved in the deal, said the deal hit a snag last week when rating agencies raised concern about the level of debt used in the proposed transaction.

Fidelity spokesman Daniel Murphy said Tuesday the company had no comment on the report.

Fidelity moved its headquarters to Jacksonville last year from Santa Barbara, Calif., becoming Jacksonville's third Fortune 500 company. It had $7.7 billion in revenue last year.

Fidelity's stock rose as much as $5.29 to a record high of $44.25 in early trading Tuesday after the Times' report.

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I hope this doesn't go through. Having a big rapidly growing Fortune 500 company, like Fidelity, has really enhanced the city's image as a business center.

If this goes through and Winn-Dixie continues its death spin, then the city could quickly go from having 3 (possibly 4 Fortune 500 local companies) down to one (CSX).

I also wonder how this will affect Fidelity's long term development and expansion plans in the city.

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If they get bought out, the city would lose its headquarters. I hope they don't sell their company. They seem to have long-term plans to build on their Riverside property, so I can't imagine them leaving so quickly. Even though their office expansion plans looked like suburban crap, I still like having them in Jax.

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