IRI EXPLORES ITS 'STRATEGIC OPTIONS'

CEO Says Separate Business Units Could Be Sold Off

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CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- Information Resources Inc. announced yesterday it has retained Chicago investment banking firm William Blair & Co. to explore "strategic options," possibly including sale of the company in whole or in part, mergers, capital infusions or strategic partnerships.

AdAge.com reported that IRI had retained Blair to sell the company, and executives familiar with the situation believe a sale is IRI's goal.

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Joseph Durrett said IRI has been working with Blair "for several months" to assess its options, well before a February Securities and Exchange Commission filing by California hedge fund Chap-Cap, holder of more than 5% of IRI shares, demanded IRI be sold or Mr. Durrett be fired.

Mr. Durrett said he believes IRI's consumer panel and analytics businesses could be sold separately from the core scanner-data business. Panel and analytic services would have more potential buyers than the scanner-data business. They've been profitable and seen double-digit sales growth annually over the past three years, Mr. Durrett said.

IRI has not set a deadline for finding a buyer or partner, Mr. Durrett said, adding that he is not currently contemplating auctioning the company.

He would not comment on whether IRI would consider offers from private-equity funds.

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