Not quite a monopoly, but darn close. The now-final $4.1 billion acquisition by Reed Elsevier — parent of LexisNexis— of ChoicePoint Inc. would have given Reed control over 80 percent of the $60 million market for the sale of electronic public records to U.S. law enforcement agencies. Last week, the Federal Trade Commission moved to alleviate the potential anti-competitive effects by requiring Reed to divest itself of the two ChoicePoint services most directly targeted at law enforcement customers.
Within 15 days after its Sept. 19 closing on ChoicePoint, Reed is required to sell ChoicePoint’s AutoTrackXP and Consolidated Lead Evaluation and Reporting (CLEAR) services to Thomson Reuters Legal. You can read more in this FTC announcement in these FTC legal documents. See also this article from DMNews and this blog post from beSpacific.
The FTC documents said nothing about the acquisition’s impact on the broader public-records market. Given that both LexisNexis and ChoicePoint are major providers of public-records research, I have to assume the FTC looked into this. If any readers have further information, please post it below.