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Oklahoma Firefighters Pension Files Suit as Neustar
Fights for Telecom Contract - Washington Business
July 28, 2014 - Neustar Inc., facing the possibility of losing a long-standing telecom contract that makes up about half its revenue, has stepped up criticisms of its chief rival and the FCC's selection process.
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System is suing the Sterling-based registry company, arguing that Neustar (NYSE: NSR) presented an overly rosy picture to investors on its prospects for keeping the contract.
At issue is Neustar's role as Local Number Portability Administrator (LNPA), tasked with quickly porting over consumers' phone numbers when they switch carriers. It is Neustar's single biggest job, accounting for nearly $450 million in revenue last year. Telcordia, a subsidiary of Ericsson AB, is looking to take over that contract, and recently won a key recommendation from a key group advising the FCC.
In comments filed on July 25 with the agency, Neustar argued Ericsson's existing telecom contracts prevent it from serving as a neutral manager of number portability; that the FCC must issue public notice before ruling on the vendor selection; that the advisory group's recommendation is "legally insufficient" and doesn't address safety and security issues.
Fears that Neustar will lose the contract have prompted a sell-off by investors this year. This month, those same fears prompted an investor lawsuit. The Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System filed suit on July 15 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, arguing Neustar "repeatedly misrepresented that it was in a strong position to win" the contract, while privately worrying its bid was not competitive.
The pension system, the suit claims, wouldn't have bought the company's stock "had they been aware that the market prices for NeuStar common stock had been artificially inflated by defendants' fraudulent course of conduct." Said Neustar, in a statement to the Washington Business Journal: "We firmly believe and intend to prove that these allegations are entirely without merit."