Moody’s dumps stake in Doug Curry’s data firm

Decision comes after a competitor, CoStar Group, won a copyright-infringement battle against Curry’s now-defunct firm

TRD NATIONAL /
Nov.November 06, 2019 01:21 PM
Moody’s Analytics' Keith Berry and Empirical CRE Doug Curry (Credit: LinkedIn, iStock)

Moody’s Analytics’ Keith Berry and Empirical CRE Doug Curry (Credit: LinkedIn, iStock)

UPDATED at 2:15 p.m.: Moody’s Analytics has abandoned an investment in a commercial real estate data firm tied to an embattled industry figure.

The information-services firm, which oversees a commercial real estate data portal, had taken a 23.8 percent stake in Empirical CRE, a company led by Doug Curry.

CoStar Group CEO Andy Florance

CoStar Group CEO Andy Florance

Last month Curry made headlines after his former firm, Xceligent, lost a copyright infringement case against a competitor, CoStar Group.

“Moody’s has divested its entire stake in Empirical CRE in light of recent disclosures and no longer has any connection to that company,” said a Moody’s spokesperson.

Moody’s launched a commercial real estate data platform last year, partnering with other firms to provide a suite of tools for the industry. To anchor the portal, known as Reis Network, it purchased the data firm of the same name for $225 million dollars. It has since announced partnerships CompStak and RockportVAL.

The portal is a competitor to CoStar Group, which has built its own portfolio of companies to provide real estate information. Some of its largest ventures include Apartments.com and Loopnet.

CoStar had previously waged a years-long legal battle with Xceligent, yet another commercial real estate data platform, accusing it in a lawsuit of stealing proprietary information such as images of office buildings. CoStar’s legal efforts extended to call centers used by Xceligent in the Philippines and India, which it alleged had harvested the information.

Curry, who co-founded Xceligent in the late 1990s with his wife, Erin, countersued and claimed that CoStar was bullying its competition. But the litigation forced his Missouri-based firm into bankruptcy in 2017. What’s left of the firm is being overseen by a court-appointed trustee.

Last month CoStar announced on its third quarter earnings call that it had won a $500 million proposed judgment from the court-appointed trustee overseeing Xceligent’s bankruptcy. Xceligent’s insurers agreed to settle the judgment for $10.75 million. The resolution remains subject to approval by Delaware Bankruptcy Court.

“Doug [Curry] has started another CRE information business with several million dollars of funding from Moody’s, a company you may have heard of,” Florance said on the earnings call last month.

Florance also told investors that criminal indictments for cybercrime charges had been issued against the owners of the call centers that Xceligent used in the Philippines.

Those disclosures prompted Moody’s to drop its links to Curry, and his newest venture.

CoStar did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Curry could not be immediately reached for comment.


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