infoUSA Chief Rails Against ISS-Backed Hedge Fund

May 29 2007 | 1:19pm ET

There’s still nothing like hedge fund activism to send a corporate executive into a rage. But business and consumer database outfit infoUSA may have a bigger problem than Stamford, Conn.-based Dolphin LP.

Vinod Gupta, founder of the Omaha, Neb.-based company issued a searing press release today indicting Dolphin founder Don Netter for “talking out of both sides of his mouth.”

“Dolphin is an opportunistic hedge fund that typifies what’s wrong with Wall Street these days,” Gupta fumes. “Claiming to be crusading for the interests of investors, waving the banner of ‘corporate governance,’ Dolphin looks to make a quick buck.”

Dolphin has been involved in a war of words and proxies with Gupta since last year, when it pushed for a sale of the company and sought to unseat board members loyal to management. Dolphin declined to comment on Gupta’s outburst, but did issue a press release of its own, saying that major proxy advisory Institutional Shareholder Services is backing it in the battle with infoUSA.

According to Dolphin, ISS is recommending that infoUSA shareholders withhold their votes from management board nominees and vote against the company’s 2007 Omnibus Incentive Plan.

ISS’ move is certainly not good news for Gupta, who calls himself “the true ‘loyal shareholder.’”

“I am the founder of the company and my financial fate, and that of my family, quite literally depends on the company’s success,” Gupta wrote. Noting that Dolphin has recently shaved its stake in infoUSA from about 3.6% to about 2%, he said, “Unlike Mr. Netter, I am not a quick-buck artist who can profit from damaging the reputation of the company.”

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