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Published: Wednesday, 7/6/2011

Infogroup sells its Opinion Research survey unit to private equity firm

Terms not disclosed


OMAHA, Neb. — Database business Infogroup announced Wednesday that it is getting out of the survey business and is selling its Opinion Research Corp. unit that handles polling for CNN and others to private equity firm Lake Capital Management.

Infogroup spokesman Billy Kenny said terms of the sale will not be disclosed. A spokeswoman for Chicago-based Lake Capital Management did not immediately respond to a message left Wednesday.

The deal will allow Omaha-based Infogroup to focus on its main business, which involves selling contact and demographic information that companies use to find new customers. It also offers direct mail, email and other marketing services.

But the sale will also reduce Infogroup's 3,400-person workforce by about one-third and reduce its revenue base. Opinion Research generated about $98 million of Infogroup's roughly $500 million revenue in 2009, the last year Infogroup reported its revenue before going private. Infogroup had a $6.6 million net loss in 2009, but had been profitable previously.

Infogroup, which used to be known as InfoUSA, paid $134.3 million for the Princeton, N.J.-based Opinion Research in 2006.

Opinion Research has been working with CNN on the CNN/Opinion Research Poll since at least 2007, also does polling and market research for a variety of other companies and organizations.

Infogroup's data has been used in Google's local searches since 2005. Infogroup still has sizable operations in Omaha; Concord, Mass.; Pearl River, N.Y.; and Portland, Ore.

The business was purchased last summer by private equity firm CCMP Capital Advisors for $460 million after a tumultuous period in which its founder, Vinod Gupta, was forced out because of questionable spending.

Gupta lost his chairman and chief executive jobs in 2008 after a shareholder lawsuit raised questions about his use of company money to support a lavish lifestyle. He had held those posts since 1992.

The lawsuit alleged Infogroup misspent millions of dollars, some of it on domestic and international air travel for former President Bill Clinton and his wife, then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Gupta pledged to reimburse Infogroup $9 million over five years as part of the settlement announced in August 2008, but he remained on the company's board and received $10 million in severance.

He also agreed last year to pay more than $7.3 million to settle an SEC investigation into the way he used more than $9 million of Infogroup's money, including on an 80-foot yacht, 28 club memberships, six homes and 20 automobiles. He resigned from the company's board in 2010.


Infogroup Inc.: http://www.infogroup.com
CCMP Capital Advisors LLC: http://www.ccmpcapital.com
ORC International: http://www.orcinternational.com

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