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Polk Acquires 100 Percent of Carfax

3 August 1999

Polk Acquires 100 Percent of Carfax
        Unique Vehicle-History Products Provide Automotive Consumers,
                       Dealers With Purchasing Insight

    DETROIT, Aug. 2 -- The Polk Company announced today it has
completed acquisition of Carfax, a privately held firm that provides histories
of used cars to consumers and dealers hoping to avoid purchasing undesirable
vehicles.  Polk had previously owned 35 percent of Carfax, in partnership with
the Blackburn Group, Inc., of London, Ontario, Canada, and has now acquired
the remaining 65 percent.
    Carfax compiles vehicle histories from various sources, with about 75
percent of the information coming from Polk data.  Using the vehicle
identification number (VIN), each history provides potential buyers with all
available facts about a used car being considered for purchase.  This includes
original use of the vehicle odometer records, number of owners and other items
that might affect a purchase decision.
    The Carfax vehicle-history products are used extensively by both consumers
and dealers.  The company's direct sales to consumers via the Internet
( ) have shown explosive growth, recently setting a single-week
record of more than 9,200 sales.  The Carfax Web site logs more than 10
million visitors annually.  In the dealer market, more than 9,000 dealers in
the United States and Canada currently subscribe to the service online to
conduct background checks on cars they plan to buy at auction or take as
trade-ins.  Dealer sales have been the core of Carfax's business --
approximately 70 percent of its sales.
    "Carfax, with its unique vehicle-history products and strong dealer
network, fits well with our business strategy of product leadership," said
Stephen Polk, Chairman and CEO of Polk.  "The excellent Internet delivery
techniques Carfax has developed for selling directly to consumers add an
important new dimension to Polk's global transportation businesses.  In short,
Carfax epitomizes the excellence we seek in all we do."
    Art Olsen, Polk President and COO, said Carfax is an important addition to
Polk's transportation business and that the acquisition will be managed to
ensure continuity in Carfax operations.
    "Carfax will be a wholly owned subsidiary of R.L. Polk & Co. and will
operate as a largely independent company," said Olsen.  "The new subsidiary
will continue to operate under its present name.  We are impressed with the
Carfax operations, products and the quality of the people.  Continuity and
uninterrupted momentum are the primary objectives."
    Polk also announced that, with the full acquisition, Dick Raines will
continue his role as president of Carfax.
    "Under Dick's leadership, Carfax has refined its processes and created an
outstanding business model for sustained growth," said Olsen.  "We want Carfax
to continue operating to that successful model and the independent status will
ensure that their focus is not diverted by transition issues."
    Raines reiterated the importance of Polk's commitment to continuity.
    "I welcome the full acquisition by Polk," said Raines.  "Our relationship
has been very positive.  It is a compliment to our employees that Polk wants
us to continue our present operating plan.  We believe full ownership by Polk
will provide us with several advantages, including access to advanced data
processing capabilities, a richer variety of data and Polk's strong industry
relationships.  I'm intrigued by the business possibilities we will be
actively investigating."
    Carfax is based in Fairfax, Va., and maintains a data center in Columbia,
Mo., where the company was founded in 1984.  The Carfax database is the most
comprehensive in existence, containing nearly 1 billion records covering the
United States and Canada.  It includes vehicle histories, but does not compile
owner names and addresses.
    Polk provides multi-dimensional intelligence information solutions to
companies as a statistician for the motor vehicle industry; as a direct-
marketing resource; as a supplier of demographic and lifestyle data and
database-marketing services; as a publisher of city directories; and as a data
enabler for geographic information systems.  It is a long-standing and leading
member of the Direct Marketing Association, a leading advocate of consumer
privacy and confidentiality, and adheres to its own set of fair information
practices and privacy principles.  Based in Southfield, Mich., Polk is a
privately held firm founded in 1870 that is expanding globally, currently
operating in the United States, Canada, England, France, Germany, Australia,
Spain, Holland and Costa Rica.
    Visit the Polk Web site at