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Anti-spam efforts hit Equifax
Credit reporting agency cuts staff, offices of e-marketing unit as clients cut back e-mail pitches.
December 19, 2003: 8:23 AM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Credit reporting agency Equifax Inc. announced it is cutting staff and closing facilities in its e-mail marketing unit due to recent legislation aimed at limiting spam, and taking a charge related to those moves.

Equifax Incorporated
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The company did not give details of the number of employees affected but said it will spend $1.8 million on closing facilities and $1.1 million on severance, as part of $3.3 million in restructuring costs in its e-marketing unit. It also is writing down $22.6 million in asset value in the unit, and another $4.8 million in asset value in its software development operations, leading to a 17-cent a share reduction in earnings in the current quarter.

The company said it would eliminate bulk e-mail products with this action. The company said anti-spam legislation passed in California in September prompted its clients to cut back on its e-mail marketing efforts, including "permission-based e-marketing product." It said it is too early to determine the impact of federal anti-spam legislation signed by President Bush earlier this week.

"We are encouraged by Congress' and the White House's commitment to address this issue at the Federal level and we regard this as a very important first step," said the company's statement. "However, there are many aspects of the legislation that need further clarification and we will work diligently with the Federal Trade Commission to ensure that responsible legislation is enacted and enforced."

Shares of Equifax (EFX: Research, Estimates) gained 45 cents to $24.55 in trading Thursday.  Top of page

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