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Daily Mail publisher hands US property business over to liquidators

Christopher Williams
The publisher of the Daily Mail bought Xceligent in 2012 - BRYN COLTON/Bloomberg

The publisher of the Daily Mail has handed its struggling US property data business Xceligent over to liquidators only two weeks after announcing a strategic review.

DMGT said the company, in which it has invested more than £100m, will be "unable to operate on a sustainable basis given the likely investment required to overcome challenging market conditions".

The retreat comes as Xceligent faces a serious legal threat from rival CoStar. The dominant player in commercial real estate data accuses Xceligent of large scale unlawful copying of its data.

Xceligent has in recent months attempted to break into the crucial New York market and fallen far short of expectations.

DMGT wrote off the entire book value of Xceligent as part of its disappointing full-year results at the end of November. The publisher's shares collapsed by more than a quarter as it cut forecasts for its newspaper division as well as abandoning high hopes for several of its business information investments.

DMGT this evening sought to reassure investors, saying that any liability in relation to the CoStar allegations would be contained within the liquidation of Xceligent.

The publisher, controlled by Lord Rothermere, bought Xceligent in 2012.

Xceligent's founder Doug Curry departed in October shortly after a court was told by a contractor it had been commissioned to copy CoStar data.

The contractor later contradicted its court submission and DMGT has said Mr Curry's exit was unrelated to CoStar's allegations.