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CreditCards.com Taken Over by American Capital After Debt Default

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CreditCards.com, the Bankrate-wannabe and credit card info site for consumers, has been taken over by its majority debt-owner American Capital (AC), we have learned. This comes after the Austin-based company defaulted on its debt payments to AC, which itself has been in recent trouble and restructured its own $2.4 billion debt.

CreditCards.com filed an S-1 for an IPO in August 2007 to raise almost $110 million, but withdrew late that year due to what it said as adverse market conditions.

At that time, Austin Ventures owned around 65 percent of the company with the remainder owned by American Capital and other insiders. After failing to recap and restructure its debt, CC was finally taken over by AC, our sources say. AV, which initially bankrolled CreditCards.com back in 2006, still holds a small minority stake in the venture.

The company PR and CEO Elisabeth DeMarse, former *Bankrate* CEO, did not return e-mails asking for comment.

A short history, from DealScape: It was formed in 2005 by DeMarse and Austin Ventures with the intent of acquiring an online financial services company. The group in 2006 purchased CreditCards.com for $133.8 million in cash and 2.1 million shares of stock from Daniel Smith, the company’s former CEO. DeMarse and AV in late 2006 tapped American Capital Strategies to recapitalize the company with an additional $160.3 million in debt.