Experian Expands

March 19, 2002

Consumer Credit Reporting Bureau Acquires Consumerinfo.Com Online Credit Service

Inman News Features

An information solutions company known for its consumer credit bureau services has signed a definitive agreement to acquire an online consumer credit reporting service for $130 million cash.

The buyer is Experian, the service is ConsumerInfo.com, and the seller is Homestore.com, which purchased ConsumerInfo in August as part of a $150 million deal for iPlace, which was created by prior mergers of ConsumerInfo, eNeighborhoods and Qspace.

Experian COO Don Robert said the acquisition is an opportunity for Experian to expand its reach into the direct-to-consumer market, one of the company?s target growth areas. The rapid growth of direct-to-consumer credit services follows the trend of consumers taking greater control of their finances and monitoring their own creditworthiness, according to the company.

"ConsumerInfo.com has a powerful distribution network and an experienced management team. We will be able to leverage the power of Experian's core credit file and analytical tools and deliver them to fast-growing new markets," Robert said.

ConsumerInfo.com founder and CEO Ed Ojdana said being part of Experian will enable the company to develop faster. He said the deal will enable ConsumerInfo to continue "to serve the hundreds of thousands of consumers with whom we have built relationships" and give the company "immediate access to new channels via Experian?s sales force and strategic client relationships."

The sale also divorces ConsumerInfo from troubled Homestore.com, which has been selling assets to raise cash and reposition its portfolio of real estate Web site and technology businesses.

ConsumerInfo.com provides online consumer credit reporting and monitoring services and aims to give consumers quick, easy and inexpensive access to their credit histories. The company was founded in 1995 and claims since then to have signed up 778,000 subscribers and provided credit reports to more than 2 million consumers. The company was one of the first to offer consumers online access to single-bureau credit reports, three-bureau credit reports and lender-style credit scores.

About three-fourths of ConsumerInfo.com?s revenue is derived from membership subscriptions, according to Experian. An annual subscription fee of $79.95 buys users unlimited online access to their credit report, monthly monitoring of their credit files and advice on managing credit and debt levels. Individual credit reports, credit scores and other services are sold at prices ranging from $9.95 to $44.95.

Experian is a global provider of information solutions and customer relationship management services with annual sales of approximately $1.5 billion. The company is headquartered in Nottingham, U.K., and Orange, Calif., and is a subsidiary of GUS plc?s retail and business services group headquartered in Manchester, England.

Copyright: Inman News Service

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