FTC sues Dun & Bradstreet over QED acquisition

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The Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit May 7 against Dun & Bradstreet, claiming the database company's February 2009 acquisition of competitor Quality Education Data (QED) gave it a monopoly on K-12 education data. The company uses the information to market books and other materials to education professionals.

“Despite its relatively low dollar value, this transaction dramatically decreased competition in the marketplace,” said Richard Feinstein, director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition, in a statement. “When Dun & Bradstreet acquired QED, it bought its closest competitor and created a monopoly. That's going to get the FTC's attention every time.”

D&B paid $29 million to acquire QED from Scholastic Inc.

The FTC alleges that QED was Dun & Bradstreet's largest competitor, and that the acquisition gave the company a 90% stake in the education data market. The deal prevented remaining competitors from having sufficient market share to keep prices competitive, the FTC claims.

The FTC declined to comment, citing the fact that proceedings are in litigation.

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

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