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TransUnion provides credit information and information management services.
TransUnion provides service to approximately 45,000 businesses and approximately 500 million consumers worldwide. It is also the third-largest credit bureau in the United States. Like major competitors Equifax and Experian, TransUnion markets credit reports directly to consumers. The company is based in Chicago, Illinois and its revenue in 2011 was US$ 1.024 billion.
In 1968, the Union Tank Car Company, a railcar leasing operation, created TransUnion as its parent holding company. In 1969, the company acquired the Credit Bureau of Cook County (CBCC), which manually maintained 3.6 million card files in 400 seven-drawer cabinets. Soon after the acquisition of CBCC, it became the first company in the credit reporting industry to replace accounts receivable data with automated tape-to-disc transfer, drastically cutting the time and cost to update consumer files. Early in its history, the company created the first online information storage and retrieval data processing system. This system provided credit grantors across the country with one source for fast and valuable consumer credit information.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, TransUnion continued to expand their facilities and capabilities through investments in technology and acquisitions. In 1988, it achieved full coverage in the United States, maintaining and updating information on virtually every market-active consumer in the country.
Throughout the 1990s and the turn of the millennium, TransUnion extended operations beyond the credit reporting industry and business-to-business offerings.
TransUnion entered the direct-to-consumer market with the acquisition of TrueCredit.com in 2002. Today, its operations extend to 32 countries worldwide.
In 1982, TransUnion was acquired as a subsidiary of Marmon Group, a holding company formed by Jay Pritzker and Robert Pritzker. It was spun off as a separate company under Pritzker control in 2005. The wealthy Pritzker family, most famous for owning the Hyatt hotel chain, began divesting the family's assets in late 2001 following the death of Jay Pritzker. Notable major divestitures include Hyatt Hotels Corp. public in 2009 and selling majority stake in TransUnion in 2010.
In April 2010, the Pritzker family, with Penny Pritzker as TransUnion Chair, sold controlling interest of TransUnion to a new majority owner, the Chicago-based private-equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners. Madison Dearborn Partners acquired 51 percent stake in TransUnion, and the Pritzker family maintained 49 percent ownership.
In 2003, Judy Thomas of Klamath Falls, Oregon, was awarded $5.3 million in a successful lawsuit against TransUnion. The award was made on the grounds that it took her six years to get TransUnion to remove incorrect information in her credit report.
In 2006, after spending two years trying to correct erroneous credit information that resulted from being a victim of identity theft, a fraud victim named Sloan filed suit against all three of the USA's largest credit agencies. TransUnion and Experian settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. In Sloan v. Equifax, a jury awarded Sloan $351,000. "She wrote letters. She called them. They saw the problem. They just didn't fix it," said attorney A. Hugo Blankingship III of Blankingship & Associates in Alexandria, Virginia.