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Dun & Bradstreet Sued Over Sale of Credit-Monitor Firm

Dun & Bradstreet Corp., a provider of business data and risk-management services, was sued by the company that acquired its small business credit-monitoring branch in 2010 over a spurned buyout offer.

Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. filed the suit in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan yesterday, accusing Dun & Bradstreet of breach of contract and acting “intentionally and maliciously” to harm DBCC.

Dun & Bradstreet Credibility, based in Malibu, California, was created in 2010 to acquire the branch of Dun & Bradstreet’s business that allows companies to monitor their credit, according to the lawsuit. The pact gave DBCC the right to market and distribute certain products in exchange for royalties paid to Dun & Bradstreet.

The two companies worked as business partners over the past three years until there was a “seismic shift” toward the end of last year, according to the suit.

In September 2013, Dun & Bradstreet rejected a proposal from DBCC and “two of the world’s largest private equity firms” to acquire the company for a price ranging from $115 to $125 a share.

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“It is apparent that D&B, whose new CEO, Bob Carrigan, had then been hired and was about to come on board, determined to forgo the opportunity for a cash premium to D&B’s shareholders and decided instead to preserve D&B management’s positions by attacking DBCC’s business and therefore harming the very company best situated to bring value to D&B’s shareholders,” Dun & Bradstreet Credibility said in the lawsuit.

Dun & Bradstreet, based in Short Hills, New Jersey, said in a statement that it doesn’t comment on active litigation. Its stock rose $1.11, or 1.2 percent, to $95.54 in trading in New York after earlier rising as much as 1.4 percent. Shares have declined 22 percent so far this year.

The case is Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. v. Dun & Bradstreet Inc., 650568/2014, New York State Supreme Court, New York County.

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