Dun & Bradstreet (D&B): What It Does, Funding, History, and Rating

What Is Dun & Bradstreet (D&B)?

Dun & Bradstreet is a global company that provides business intelligence products to clients through its database and analytics software. The products are used in improving business profits, marketing, and risk management.

Dun & Bradstreet’s enterprise software is supported by its proprietary analytics tool: DUNSRight® Quality Process. The company’s unique data universal numbering system (DUNS numbers) assigns a DUN number for each client that facilitates easier management of data across its global client base.

Dun & Bradstreet was established as the result of a merger between R.G. Dun & Co. and Bradstreet Co. in the 1930s. The company has had two rounds of funding for a total of $375 million, and it has made several acquisitions and divestitures. Its key segments are information services and internet software and services.

Key Takeaways

  • Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) is a company providing business intelligence and analytics through proprietary software and a global network.
  • The company’s 2020 revenues were around $1.7 billion.
  • D&B’s proprietary data and analytics products target small business needs, sales and marketing goals, and credit and third party risk assessment concerns.

Understanding Dun & Bradstreet (D&B)

Dun & Bradstreet (DNB) is a 180-year-old company that supports companies in the areas of sales, finance, compliance, procurement, and marketing. After launching the revolutionary DUNS numbers, a unique nine-digit identifier for every company that allowed greater data exchange, the company launched its Data Cloud, which gives access to a range of data points about a company, such as its credit score, regulatory filings and business structure, ownership, and principals. Its revenue segments include subscription services, business intelligence reports, data license agreements, partnerships with the public sector, and concierge support services for small businesses.

In 2020, the company stock was relisted under the ticker DNB on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) after having been made private in 2019.

The History of Dun & Bradstreet

The formation of Dun & Bradstreet can be linked back to 1841, when Lewis Tappan established the Mercantile Agency in New York City. Tappan handed the reins of the company to Benjamin Douglass in the latter part of the decade. The company was reincorporated under the name R.G. Dun & Co. in 1859 when Robert Graham Dun purchased it. In 1931, the company purchased the National Credit Office and was reorganized, becoming R.G. Dun & Corp.

John Bradstreet formulated and established Bradstreet Co. in Cincinnati in 1849. The firm published the first-ever book of commercial ratings in 1851 and made the use of credit ratings popular. Bradstreet moved his company to New York in 1855.

In 1933, negotiations between the two companies began over the idea of a merger. After one month of discussions, the merger took place. The Wall Street Journal published a notification of the merger and indicated that the newly formed company would be operating under the name R.G. Dun-Bradstreet, changed to Dun & Bradstreet Inc. in 1939. As part of a rebranding campaign, the company officially changed its name to D&B in 2001.

The company has a long record of mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures leading up to its most recent acquisition—of Bisnode, a European data and analytics firm, in January 2021. The deal was a combination of cash and private placement of newly issued DNB common stock. In November 2021, the company announced its plans to acquire Eyeota and NetWise, companies that provide data and audience solutions for digital marketing.

After buying back its outstanding shares in 2019, D&B launched an initial public offering (IPO) on June 24, 2020, relisting on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker DNB. For 2020, its revenues stood at $1.7 billion. The company serves around 420 million businesses globally across 243 countries and regions.

Data Universal Numbering System

The data universal numbering system was introduced by the company in 1963 and started as a seven-digit code assigned to companies as a form of classification. In 1964, D&B published a codebook with the individual codes of all the companies that had received them and continued this until 1968. DUNS made an appearance for the first time in the Million Dollar Directory in 1969.

The DUNS system is composed of nine digits and is assigned to every business location in the D&B database. Each of the digits has a unique and distinct operation that identifies each specific business. The number itself is assigned randomly.

D&B Rating

D&B Rating is a credit rating tool that has two parts: Common Credit Appraisal, which assesses and rates a company based on several metrics such as payment histories and public records; and Rating Classification, which scores businesses’ net worth based on the strength of their current financial statements.

Article Sources
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  1. Library of Congress, Research Guides. “Dun & Bradstreet Founded.”

  2. Dun & Bradstreet, via U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “Form 10-K for the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2016,” Page 51.

  3. Dun & Bradstreet, Investor Relations. “About Dun & Bradstreet: Dun & Bradstreet by the Numbers.”

  4. Dun & Bradstreet. “The Power of Data Podcast: Episode 78: Celebrating 180 Years of Innovation with IBM.”

  5. Dun & Bradstreet, via U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “Dun & Bradstreet Holdings, Inc.,” Page 1.

  6. Dun & Bradstreet, Investor Relations. “Dun & Bradstreet Completes Acquisition of Bisnode, a Leading European Data and Analytics Business.”

  7. Eyeota. “Eyeota Is Now a Dun & Bradstreet Company!

  8. Dun & Bradstreet. “What Is the D&B® Rating?

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