ChoicePoint keeps marketing services business

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ChoicePoint Inc.'s board of directors has decided to retain its marketing services business.

The firm in July said it intended to divest this business as part of a companywide strategic review. ChoicePoint Precision Marketing, a provider of direct marketing technologies and services, has about 670 employees in offices nationwide.

"This is not a business that we have to sell," said Doug Curling, president and chief operating officer of ChoicePoint, Alpharetta, GA. "It is fundamentally sound, with great customers, and adds positively to our earnings and cash flows. While not strategically centric to the rest of our risk management products and services, it fits dead on with our customer base and our business model of helping customers make financial decisions."

Derek V. Smith, ChoicePoint chairman/CEO, said in a statement that the company is retaining the business because it did not receive an acceptable offer.

ChoicePoint collects data on individuals, including Social Security numbers, real estate holdings and current and former addresses. It also offers businesses, government agencies and nonprofit groups software technology and information to anticipate and respond to economic and physical risk. It analyzes information for the insurance sector and holds about 19 billion records.

ChoicePoint said it still plans to sell its forensic DNA analysis laboratory and shareholder services business. The DNA company, Bode Technology Group, has 94 employees in Springfield, VA. The shareholder services firm, EquiSearch, has 38 employees in White Plains, NY.

ChoicePoint has changed how it does business since thieves accessed its massive database of consumer information in 2004. In January, ChoicePoint agreed to pay $15 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges involving allegations that the firm's security and record-handling procedures violated consumers' privacy rights during the breach.

The data breach involved thieves posing as small business customers who gained access to ChoicePoint's database, possibly compromising the personal information of 163,000 Americans, according to the FTC.

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