D&B, the financial information provider formerly known as Dun & Bradstreet, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Hoover's Inc. for $117 million. Hoover's, based in Austin, Tex., was founded in 1990 by Gary Hoover as a reference book publisher and moved into the online world in 1995 with the launch of Hoover's Online.

The online database, which Hoover's offers on a subscription basis, has been the company's fastest growing segment and accounted for 79% ($12.4 million) of total revenue for the six-month period ended September 30. Books and CD-ROMs generated revenue of $460,000 in the first half of the year, less than 4% of company sales.

Following completion of the deal, Hoover's will become part of D&B's e-business solutions group and will continue to be headed by Hoover's current chairman and CEO, Jeffrey Tarr. D&B expects to double Hoover's revenue by 2005 by expanding the sale of Hoover's products through D&B's existing sales channels. For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2002, Hoover's had sales of $31.5 million and a net loss of $11.6 million.