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5 Things You Might Not Know About Chicago Title

Let's face it; you think Chicago Title, you think, well, Chicago Title. But there's a lot more fun—and history—to the company than meets the eye.

1. Chicago Title was purchased by Fidelity National Financial in 2000. 

Chicago (Chicago Title Insurance)

FNF acquired Chicago Title 16 years ago. FNF also retains majority ownership of Black Knight Financial Services (55%) and Servicelink (79%). The company further maintains a portfolio of investments in a multitude of other large businesses, including leading global business services and software solutions company Meridian; the full-service American Blue Ribbon Holdings, which owns O'Charley's, Village Inn and Bakers Square; America's leading employee benefits platform for small and midsized businesses, Digital Insurance; and Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group.

2. Bill Foley, chairman of the board for FNF, owns Foley Family Wines and a professional hockey team.

Wine Vegas for Chicago Title

Foley Family Wines was founded in 1996 with one small vineyard, the Lincourt Vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley in California. Today, FFW is a top 10 producer of wine in the United States. It has expanded to 16 vineyard properties—in northern California, Washington state, Oregon and even New Zealand. Foley is the sole importer of Piccini Italian wines into the country. Its brands include Chalk Hill, Grove Mill, Two Sisters, Vavasour, Sebastiani, Kuleto, Roth, Merus, Lost Angel, Firestone and Four Graces—just to name a few!

Bill keeps fairly busy outside of his vineyards as well. The Las Vegas National Hockey League team will make its debut in the 2017-18 NHL season. The team’s logo, colors, name and uniform are expected to be revealed next month, and will call the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, NV’s Las Vegas Strip home. Owned by Bill Foley’s Black Knight Sports and Entertainment Consortium, the team will serve as the first major professional sports franchise based in Sin City—and the first NHL expansion team since 2000.

Las Vegas' hockey history stretches back only to 1991 when various Nevada towns surrounding Las Vegas (and, of course, LV itself) began hosting a number of hockey games and tournaments; in 2014, the Las Vegas Wranglers’ lease at the Orleans Arena expired, leaving room for FNF’s chairman to apply and win the bid for the expansion team in summer 2015.

3. After the Great Chicago Fire, Chicago Title became the official gatekeeper of all county property records.

Chicago Fire poster

In the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, in which a tiny barn behind 137 DeKoven St caught fire and engulfed nearly 3.3 square miles of Chicago in flames, Cook County’s property records were destroyed. The accounts and papers of three Chicago Title predecessor firms—Chase Brothers & Co, Shortall and Hoard, and Jones and Sellers —managed to rescue their records and set up shop in the city's west side. The three companies would then consolidate into one firm to became the county’s new official title record holders.

4. Chicago Title has been around for almost 170 years.

Rees & Rucker Chicago Title Insurance

The former Chicago Title & Trust Co Building opened in 1992 at the corner of Clark and Randolph, which is the same site as Chicago’s first City Hall known as the Saloon Building. This Saloon Building is the very same edifice where one of the company's founders, Edward Rucker, held his office...almost 170 years ago in 1847. Rucker would remain in the office for a year before joining real estate mogul James H. Rees in the Merchant's Exchange.

5. Chicago Title once ran under the NYSE ticker "CTZ."

Chicago Title building

For the only time in its history, Chicago Title was traded on the New York Stock Exchange from June 18, 1998, to March 20, 2000, under the symbol "CTZ." Previously, Chicago Title and Trust Co and its title insurance subsidiaries had been wholly owned by New York-based Alleghany Corp. In 1998, Alleghany spun off Chicago Title under the Chicago Title Corp name. On March 20, 2000, Fidelity National Financial Inc—then of Santa Barbara, CA—completed its purchase of Chicago Title and Trust Co and CTZ ceased trading on the NYSE.

To learn more about Bisnow partner Chicago Title Insurance Co, click here.