Experian Picks Up CheetahMail

Credit reporting and business information provider Experian has acquired profitable email marketing firm CheetahMail.

The move will involve no layoffs, the companies said, and will maintain CheetahMail as a standalone entity within Experian Marketing Services. The email marketer will continue to operate out of its New York headquarters and will be called CheetahMail, an Experian Company.

Experian said its bid was motivated by its customers’ increasing reliance on email for marketing purposes, as well as by Cheetahmail’s consistent profitability.

“E-mail marketing is an essential and growing element of our clients’ marketing strategies,” said Deborah Zuccarini, president of Experian Marketing Services. “CheetahMail strengthens our ability to quickly deliver highly integrated, multi-channel campaigns and will immediately contribute to Experian’s earnings.”

The acquisition is not Experian’s first foray into email. In 2001, the company bought Exactis from 24/7 Media for $13.5 million and integrated that company’s email platform into its B2B offerings. Experian’s move to acquire Cheetahmail may therefore be less about breaking into email than adding revenue and clients. CheetahMail’s existing customers include Neiman Marcus, Starbucks, Discovery Channel and Bloomingdale’s.

“Our client base basically gets everything they’ve loved about us for the last six years. In addition, they now have access to Experian’s entire product base: all the data, data management, append and other services… [Its] marketing services group is very large. For us, being a part of that group is a huge advantage,” said Cheetahmail CEO Irene Pedraza, who described the acquisition as a “good cultural fit.”

Pedraza said time will tell whether existing CheetahMail customers begin to use Experian’s other services.

CheetahMail’s U.K. subsidiary will also continue to exist, though it will become part of Experian’s U.K. operation. The companies declined to disclose further terms of the deal.

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