Experian snaps up Italian operations of rival Equifax

ROME - Global data services supplier Experian has acquired 100% of the Italian arm of credit marketing data specialist Equifax.

Equifax says the sale will allow it to concentrate its resources in the UK, Spain and Portugal.

Equifax Italy's core business includes the provision of consumer and business information to the financial services sector as well as real estate information, which is required by banks prior to granting secured credit.

The company, which was originally known as SEK, has been operating in Italy for nearly 30 years and today is one of four major data providers in the Italian market. SEK was acquired by Equifax in November 2000 and its name changed to Equifax Italy.

In a brief statement, Equifax said: "In recent years, Equifax has dedicated significant time and resources to its global operations, placing a strong focus on the UK, Spain and Portugal. The sale of Equifax Italy frees Equifax resources for further investment in these key markets and its successful Personal Solutions business, which provides credit information direct to the consumer."

The company added: "The latest revenue and earning results for Equifax [for the third quarter of 2004] report a record growth, with Europe witnessing a 22% climb in revenue. Equifax will continue to draw upon its resources to build sustainable growth in its European operations."

Experian launched its credit bureau operation in Italy in 1997 and has concentrated on providing services to the telecoms and automotive industries, a spokesman said. Its Experian Marketing Services division opened an office in Milan in June.

Nigel Fine, managing director of Experian International, said the Equifax Italy acquisition "strengthens Experian's position in the Italian banking sector and affirms our leading position as a global provider of information solutions".

"This acquisition will help Experian to complement its current offering in Italy and strengthen its core consumer and business databases. It will allow us in future to introduce more of our innovative, value added products such as ID authentication and bureau scores to the Italian market, delivering major benefits to our clients."

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