FTC Sues Dun & Bradstreet to Unwind Closed Deal
By Aruna Viswanatha | May 7, 2010 11:55 am

In a sign that smaller deals are also subject to increased scrutiny by antitrust regulators, the Federal Trade Commission sued risk and credit report provider Dun & Bradstreet Corporation on Friday, challenging its February 2009 purchase of Quality Education Data (QED), valued at just $29 million.

At the time, only deals larger than $65 million required antitrust clearance. That threshold was reduced earlier this year to around $63 million. In March, the Justice Department ordered voting machine company Election Systems & Software Inc. to partly unwind its closed $5 million transaction to purchase a Diebold Inc. unit.

Quality Education sells data about K-12 school districts. According to the complaint, a Dun & Bradstreet unit sells similar information, and the merger gave the company more than 90 percent of the market for K-12 educational marketing databases.

“When Dun & Bradstreet acquired QED, it bought its closest competitor and created a monopoly,” FTC competition bureau director Richard Feinstein said in a statement.  ”That’s going to get the FTC’s attention every time.”

“D&B believes we have not violated any antitrust laws as a result of our acquisition of QED,” a company spokeswoman said in a statement. “We are in the process of trying to resolve this issue with the Federal Trade Commission.”

The commission voted 4-1 to bring the complaint, with Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch dissenting.

A hearing is set for January 2011, according to the complaint.

updated at 3:15 to include comment from Dun & Bradstreet.


One Comment

  1. [...] doesn't happen often. But, that doesn't mean it doesn't happen.  The FTC is now suing Dun & Bradstreet (H/T Main Justice) to unwind a transaction D&B closed last year.  According to the [...]

The Senate Democratic leader describes the Republicans' refusal to hold hearings on President Obama's eventual Supreme Court nominee "historically unbelievable and historically unprecedented."

An error has occurred, which probably means the feed is down. Try again later.