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Credentials Is Sold to Cendant for $125 Million


Credentials Services International Inc., a direct marketer of consumer credit monitoring programs, said Monday it has been acquired by service industry giant Cendant Corp. for $125 million in cash.

The deal, which takes effect immediately, is worth $10 per share to privately owned Credentials' shareholders--about 28% less than the company had hoped to raise last year in a public offering that never got off the ground.

It is unclear how the deal will affect the 70 management and operations employees at Credentials' headquarters in Orange.

"Any changes will happen over the next few months" as Cendant evaluates overlapping management and administrative functions, said David Thompson, Credentials' president and chief executive.

If past performance is an indicator, though, those jobs could be eliminated.

Cendant's predecessor, HFS Inc., purchased Century 21 and Coldwell Banker residential real estate franchise operations several years ago and quickly relocated their headquarters from Orange County to New Jersey. Cendant, formed recently in the merger of HFS and CUC International Inc., maintains dual headquarters in Parsippany, N.J., and Stamford, Conn.

Credentials, spun off from the former TRW Information Services in 1994, has 200 employees, most of whom work at a telemarketing and customer service division in Texas.

Cendant, with 35,000 employees worldwide, said it wanted Credentials for strategic reasons. The acquisition eliminates a competitor in the credit monitoring business and adds 1.6 million Credentials customers to Cendant's 2.7 million-member PrivacyGuard credit monitoring service--a 60% increase.

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