Just look at the way Choicepoint has gone up in flames since its data security was compromised, after which it disowned its private investigator clients. Then you can grasp why PIs are tentative about the announced potential merger between Merlin Information Services (Merlindata) and IRBsearch. Private investigators, law enforcement, debt collectors and attorneys are heavy users of both these services, which continue to accommodate our business needs, unlike the formerly mentioned up-in-flames entity. Never mind, because IRBMerlin(?) will be able to offer a greater range of data than Choicepoint alone did.
Initially, the interface between each company and the user will continue to be the same, with the possible addition of an access route from one Web site to the other. I imagine that any alteration to the sites’ data or functionality will be well tested and likely be an improvement. IRB has some nice features but they could provide more transparency in the data date ranges and display of pricing – a tip they could gather from the Merlin service. The IRB corporate arms may be somewhat restrained by the information characteristics provided by Accurint, a LexisNexis company and the provider of all of IRB’s data.
Combining forces will create a company that will have more leverage to negotiate with their data suppliers and possibly acquire other data aggregators –perhaps some unique information sources from regional and specialty businesses.
Neither company has an announcement at their Web site but they released a joint statement, which I’m including here.
Merlin Information Services and IRBsearch Announce Letter of Intent to Merge
New Company will Create Expanded Solutions for Professional Investigators
KALISPELL, MT and TALLAHASSEE, FL., May 31, 2006—Merlin Information Services and IRBsearch, leading providers of public record and proprietary data to professionals for civil and criminal matters, jointly announce the signing of a letter of intent to merge. Terms of the merger were not disclosed.
The merger, which is subject to the execution of a definitive agreement and board approval of each company, provides the opportunity to significantly expand operations into a greater nationwide presence. The combination of Merlin’s state of the art data center and development capabilities along with IRBsearch’s unmatched person and asset locate products will provide professional investigators with a greater range of products and services.
Edward Eckland, Chief Executive Officer of IRBsearch, stated “This merger combines two highly experienced teams of dedicated professionals who share the same vision, values and goals.” Both Michael Dores, the founder of Merlin, and Darrell Goodwin, founder of IRBsearch, are licensed investigators with 39 years of combined investigative experience.
“We are very excited about the opportunities this merger will provide for our customers,” said Keith Brown, Merlin’s Chief Executive Officer. “The strength of products and services that IRBsearch provides in the investigative industry combined with Merlin’s skiptracing products and development capabilities, will truly create a one-stop shop for the markets we serve.” Brown continued.
The merged companies will continue to operate offices in Montana and Florida.
About Merlin Information Services
Merlin Information Services provides access to public record and other databases to investigative professionals who skiptrace, look for assets, run background checks or perform investigative work. Its reputation for high-quality data and flexible search and retrieval software makes Merlin a leader in the public record industry. www.merlindata.com
IRBsearch provides access to an unparalleled locate product using a proprietary compilation of billions of records that can be searched in fractions of seconds to provide instant investigative results. IRBsearch has become a leading investigative resource for professional investigators nationwide.
For additional information, contact Darrell Goodwin at (800) 447-2112 firstname.lastname@example.org or Joanne Jackson at (800) 367-6646 email@example.com.