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Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE:DNB)
Q4 2020 Earnings Call
Feb 08, 2021, 8:30 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Operator

Good morning. My name is Sakao, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time. I would like to welcome everyone to Dun & Bradstreet's fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 conference call [Operator instructions] With that, I would now like to turn the call over to Deb McCann, treasurer and senior vice president of investor relations and corporate FP&A.

You may proceed.

Deb McCann -- Treasurer and Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate FP&A

Thank you. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us for Dun & Bradstreet's financial results conference call for the fourth quarter and full year ending December 31, 2020. On the call today, we have Dun & Bradstreet's CEO, Anthony Jabbour; and CFO, Bryan Hipsher. Before we begin, allow me to provide a disclaimer regarding forward-looking statements.

This call, including the Q&A portion of the call, may include forward-looking statements related to the expected future results for our company and are therefore forward-looking statements. our actual results may differ materially from our projections due to a number of risks and uncertainties. The risks and uncertainties that forward-looking statements are subject to are described in our earnings release and other SEC filings. Today's remarks will also include references to non-GAAP financial measures.

Additional information, including reconciliation between non-GAAP financial information to the GAAP financial information, is provided in the press release and supplemental slide presentation. This conference call will be available for replay via webcast through Dun & Bradstreet's investor relations website at investor.dnb.com. With that, I'll now turn the call over to Anthony.

Anthony Jabbour -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Deb. good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us for our fourth-quarter earnings call. I'd like to take some time today to discuss highlights from 2020 and our plans for 2021. 2020 was an incredible year for Dun & Bradstreet.

In the midst of a challenging new environment, we're able to successfully complete our IPO, signed a definitive agreement to acquire Bisnode, and continued to transform our business with significant enhancements for our technology, data, and analytics, which are ultimately laying the foundation for our ability to execute on our near- and long-term growth strategies. Returning to the public markets last July was a major milestone for our company and allowed us to raise approximately $2.4 billion. The net IPO proceeds allowed us to pay down our entire preferred equity, and 40% of both are secured and unsecured notes. This significantly improved our financial profile and is saving us more than $175 million of annual dividend and interest expense.

With our lower leverage and increased cash flow, we now have significantly more financial flexibility to accelerate our growth strategy, both organically and inorganically. For example, we're able to execute a critical step in our international growth strategy, the acquisition of Dun & Bradstreet Worldwide Network member, Bisnode, which was signed in October 2020 and closed on January 8, 2021. The acquisition of Bisnode significantly expands our footprint to additional territories that make up 40% of the GDP of Europe and are home to 50 of the Global 500 companies. The combined business, with nearly 250,000 clients collectively, will now be able to provide mission-critical solutions to an expanded European footprint with more local data, more local knowledge, and more streamlined delivery channels.

As a global company, having local expertise and knowledge helps us to engage with clients of all sizes in the region and across the globe to provide solutions and support necessary to meet their increasing demands. As we've now been operating the business for around a month, we're even more excited about the opportunity. The business came with a combination of Dun & Bradstreet products along with some legacy disparate solutions. We will sun-down the legacy solutions and invest in the development of our market-leading global platforms and localized solutions.

We also have identified approximately $40 million in annualized run-rate savings that we expect to have actioned by the end of 2022. Bryan will provide incremental financial details, including our expectations for 2021, in his section. But overall, we already have strong momentum under way and look forward to updating you on our progress in the coming quarters. Now, turning back to the fourth quarter and full-year 2020.

We delivered solid financial results in both the fourth quarter and full-year 2020 despite known headwinds and a challenging macro environment. Fourth-quarter revenues were up 1.8%, excluding the net benefit of the lower deferred revenue purchase accounting impact. Adjusting for the previously communicated headwinds, normalized revenues on a constant-currency basis were up 3.5% for the fourth quarter and 3% for the full year. Total company revenue retention for the year was 96%, an increase of 70 basis points versus prior year.

And we now have 36% of our business under multi-year contracts. Revenue retention for our strategic account segment for the year is 99.8%, which once again reinforces our position as a mission-critical provider to the largest businesses in the world. 2020 was certainly a challenging year in terms of businesses of all sizes navigating their way through a difficult environment. I'm proud of what we were able to accomplish in terms of retention, and in some cases, expansion, especially when you look at what we did with our strategic accounts.

Building on the near-100% gross retention I just mentioned, we're able to grow our revenues with our strategic customers by 3% versus prior year. We also increased our multiyear business in the strategic channel by 11 percentage points to 67.5%. These multi-year contracts not only have built-in growth. They also create recurring revenue streams that allow us to continue to cross-sell additional solutions.

A great example of this was with one of the top three wireless providers in the U.S. as they adopted a multi-year agreement with Master Data, digital marketing, and global analytics solutions. Next, I'll talk about the significant progress we made in our government channel, where we had a strong year with wins in the Department of Defense, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Small Business Administration. And in the fourth quarter, we were able to secure a sole-sourced 16-month contract with two six-month options to further support the General Services Administration or the GSA.

As governments both domestically and globally look to grapple with a rapidly evolving environment, we are pleased to be able to assist such critical work through our unique and differentiated offerings. Moving on to our field sales accounts. We saw customers, including one of the leading hedge funds in the world and an online brand management technology company, renew at or slightly above prior-year levels, which was reflective of the overall customer segment. These businesses, which range from $100,000 to $1 million of potential spend a year, were more impacted by the current adverse environment.

However, they maintained consistent spend with us given the criticality of the solutions we provide despite their overall budget limitations. We continue to have dialogue in terms of the adoption of incremental solutions as things begin to return to a more normalized environment and look forward to deepening our relationships going forward. Finally, our small and medium business accounts were an area that went through a significant evolution. We spent the later part of 2019 beginning to execute a digital strategy that shifts our reliance on direct mail campaigns and telephonic interactions to a more e-commerce-centric interaction.

While revenues from direct mail and telesales were down significantly versus prior year, we're able to partially offset those declines with digital sales up 53% over the prior year. We carried this momentum through the back half of 2020 and are excited about our progress in expanding upon our SMB digitization efforts, which I will discuss further in my 2021 operations section. From an international lens, as we continue to expand and improve our beneficial ownership data, we're able to secure a new contract with one of China's top four banks. This solution will help the bank manage and screen their client shareholders in order to meet anti-money laundering requirements in the Know Your Customer compliance process.

In the U.K., we expanded our business with a Fortune 500 online payments provider whose platforms are available in more than 200 markets around the world. They will be using our modern API and cloud-based Software-as-a-Service solutions globally to provide entity verification screening and monitor potential fraud. We also continue to grow our Sales and Marketing solutions internationally. A British multinational enterprise software firm, Sage Global Services, a market leader for integrated accounting, payroll, and payment systems, will be using our global data to assist with their Sales and Marketing efforts through cleansing and updating data within their CRM systems and assisting in account-based marketing efforts.

As you can see, client engagement is strong, and we believe this momentum is a direct outcome of the substantial progress we've made in terms of our ongoing transformation that is producing higher quality, more modern, and scalable global solutions. In 2020, we invested approximately $115 million in capitalized software development, focused on enhancing and expanding our data supply chain, innovating new solutions, and modernizing our existing platforms via integration, enhanced user interfaces, and decreased latency. As we've discussed before, Project Ascent has been an important piece of our technology transformation as we continue to enhance and expand our ability to ingest and curate data, diversify our coverage of existing data and expand access to a variety of alternative data sets. We also made significant progress in simplifying and scaling our infrastructure for further growth.

Converging multiple existing legacy environments onto a common platform, primarily in the cloud, improves our stability and operating costs and enables automation, continuous integrating, and on-demand provisioning, so our developers can deploy more rapidly into production, ultimately allowing us to scale quickly and efficiently. An example of taking an existing set of solutions, focusing on the modern offering, and connecting it to enhance data supply chain, is what we're doing with our Direct+ API. All alternative data sets that come to Dun & Bradstreet are now ingested through Ascent and delivered by Direct+, providing our customers with the freshest, most complete, and accurate results, which allows our customers to access the most up-to-date data and analytics available in our ecosystem. Over the next year, we will continue to load new data and begin migrating existing data sets to be curated through Ascent.

These particular investments, along with all the new product innovations we rolled out in 2020, are creating the foundation for our future growth. And finally, as we invest in the business, we also continue to focus on efficiency, reflected in our improved EBITDA margins and annualized run-rate cost savings to date of $241 million, which is up $16 million from the third quarter. This was achieved through a rationalization of our real estate footprint and net reduction from external providers as we expand our global capability and continued rationalization of our back-office support structure. As I said, 2020 was an incredible year.

Our team continue to make great strides in executing on our strategy, and we are well-positioned for 2021 and beyond. Now, turning to 2021, we will continue to focus on our transformation effort as we look to leverage the work we did in 2020. One area I'd like to highlight is our new SMB digital platform, which will provide small- and medium-sized businesses a one-stop shop and help to deepen our relationships with cross-sell opportunities, extend our reach to new customers, particularly small businesses, and increase our revenue from new channels, including self-service e-commerce. We have thousands of small businesses coming to our website each day for a whole host of reasons, including registering for a Dun's number, looking to improve their credit profile, or becoming a qualified supplier to a major corporation.

We took multiple digital entry points and established a unified site that provides a single corridor for these businesses to not just access our products, but to gain access to a more expansive environment, including partner products designed specifically for small business. This helps us to grow our small, medium business sales; increase stickiness with current clients, and create partnership opportunity with our largest enterprise clients to bring new solutions and services to small business. As we look to our Finance and Risk and Sales and Marketing portfolios, we will continue to launch new, innovative capabilities throughout the year. And internationally, we'll continue to focus on launching new products in our respective markets through globalizing existing new North America solutions, introducing new offerings concurrently with North America, and launching specific local offerings.

These solutions will largely leverage existing technology platforms and data supply chains but be tailored for market users with local language, data, and feature requirements. 2020 was another year of remarkable transformation, and we are poised to accelerate growth in 2021. Our key priorities are to continue the transformation of our technology to scale for growth, deliver more to our clients digitally, expand our data and analytics capabilities, integrate Bisnode, and grow both organically and inorganically as we look for new and better ways to serve our clients. We are excited for what's to come.

And with that, I'll now turn the call over to Bryan to discuss our financial results and outlook for 2021.

Bryan Hipsher -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Anthony, and good morning, everyone. Today, I will discuss our fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 results and our outlook for 2021. Turning to Slide 1. On a GAAP basis, fourth-quarter revenues were $480 million, an increase of 11% or 10.5% on a constant-currency basis compared to the prior-year quarter.

This includes the net impact of the lower purchase accounting deferred revenue adjustment of $39 million. Net income for the fourth quarter on a GAAP basis was $7 million or a diluted income per share of $0.02 compared to a net loss of $263 million for the prior-year quarter. This was primarily driven by prior year's expense of $172 million related to the make-whole provision associated with the Series A preferred stock, which was redeemed as a result of the IPO, also the net impact of the lower deferred revenue adjustment of $39 million, as well as a higher non-operating gain of approximately $24 million related to the fair value adjustment of a foreign currency pilot. Before I get to the full-year results, let me clarify that comparisons to full-year 2019 are being compared to the combined pro forma results, which include the predecessor period prior to the privatization, the successor period post-privatization, and pro forma adjustments that give effect to the take-private transaction as if it had it occurred on January 1, 2019.

For revenue and adjusted EBITDA, the only pro forma adjustment was a $16 million reduction due to additional deferred revenues. Net income contained several pro forma adjustments, the details of which can be found in the schedules within the press release. On a GAAP basis, full-year 2020 revenues were $1,738 million, an increase of 10% compared to 2019. This includes the net impacts of the lower purchase accounting deferred revenue adjustment of $134 million and an international lag adjustment of $26 million, which had a combined 10 percentage point impact on year-over-year growth.

We had a full-year net loss of $176 million or a diluted loss per share of $0.48 compared to a net loss of $599 million for the prior year. Turning to Slide 2, I'll now discuss our adjusted results for the fourth quarter and full year. Fourth-quarter adjusted revenues for the total company were $480 million, an increase of 11% or 10.5% on a constant-currency basis. This increase includes the $39 million net impact of lower deferred revenue purchase accounting adjustments, a 9-percentage point impact on year-over-year growth.

This increase was partially offset by known headwinds as previously communicated. These headwinds include Lower usage revenues primarily driven by the impact of COVID-19 of approximately $8 million; lower royalty revenues from the wind-down of the Data.com partnership of approximately $6 million; a decision we made in the second half of 2019 to make structural changes within legacy Credibility solution of $1 million; partially offset by the shift of $4 million of government revenues from the third quarter. The total net impact of these known headwinds was approximately $11 million. Excluding these unique transitory items and the impact of currency, the underlying revenues for the total company grew approximately 3.5%.

Fourth-quarter adjusted EBITDA for the total company was $209 million, an increase of $51 million or 32%. This increase includes the $39 million net impact of lower deferred revenue purchase accounting adjustments, a 26-percentage point impact on year-over-year growth. But the remainder of the improvement is primarily due to lower overall operating costs, driven by ongoing cost management initiatives, including lower net personnel expenses, partially offset by increased public company cost. Fourth-quarter adjusted EBITDA margin was 43.5%.

Fourth-quarter adjusted net income was $118 million or adjusted diluted earnings per share of $0.28, an increase from fourth quarter's 2019's adjusted net income of $51.5 million. Full-year adjusted revenues for the total company were $1,738 million, an increase of 8% compared to 2019 adjusted revenues combined pro forma. This increase includes the net impact of lower deferred revenues; purchase accounting adjustment of $134 million, an 8-percentage point impact; and known headwinds as previously communicated. These headwinds include lower usage revenues, primarily driven by the impact of COVID-19, of approximately $20 million; lower royalty revenues from the wind-down of the Data.com partnership of approximately $20 million; a decision we made in the second half of 2019 to make structural changes within legacy Credibility solution of $11 million; and Worldwide Network and nonrecurring revenues of $6 million.

The total impact of these known headwinds was approximately $57 million. Excluding these unique transitory items, along with the deferred revenue adjustment, revenues on a constant-currency basis grew approximately 3%, primarily from growth in our subscription-based revenues in our Finance and Risk solution. Full-year adjusted EBITDA for the total company was $715 million, an increase of 30%, primarily driven by $134 million of lower purchase accounting deferred revenue adjustments reflected in the corporate segment, which has a 25 percentage point impact on the year-over-year growth; along with lower net personnel, travel, and marketing cost of approximately $55 million in the current year period, primarily resulting from ongoing cost management efforts; partially offset by increased technology cost of approximately $42 million related to data processing and data acquisition cost. Full-year adjusted EBITDA margin was 41.2%, an increase of 670 basis points.

The net impact from deferred revenue had an impact of 5 percentage points on the year-over-year margin improvement. Full-year 2020 adjusted net income was $350 million or adjusted diluted earnings per share of $0.95 compared to 2019 adjusted net income of $175 million. The increase was primarily driven by the net impact of lower deferred revenue adjustment in the current year; lower personnel and travel costs, primarily driven by ongoing cost management; and lower interest expense; partially offset by higher technology cost primarily related to data processing and acquisition cost. Turning now to Slide 3.

I will now discuss the results of our two segments, North America and International. In North America, revenues for the fourth quarter increased 0.3% to $401 million. The fourth-quarter net headwinds of $11 million mentioned earlier all related to North America. Excluding these revenues, underlying growth was approximately 3%, driven by increased subscription-based revenues.

Finance and Risk fourth-quarter revenues were $218 million, an increase of 0.4%, driven by the shift of a $4 million government contract from Q3; higher subscription-based revenues; partially offset by known, transient headwinds of $1 million; and structural changes in Credibility solutions; and $8 million in lower usage compared to an elevated Q4 2019, along with the impact of COVID-19. North America Sales and Marketing fourth-quarter revenues were $183 million, an increase of 0.2%. The increase was primarily driven by higher revenues of approximately $8 million from our D&B Direct API Solutions, partially offset by lower royalty revenues of approximately $6 million from the Data.com legacy partnership. North America fourth-quarter adjusted EBITDA was $198.3 million, and adjusted EBITDA margin for North America was 49.5%.

Turning now to Slide 4. I will now discuss full-year results for North America. In North America, revenues for 2020 were $1,460 million. Excluding the net impact of $48 million of headwinds communicated, $20 million related to Data.com, $11 million related to the structural changes we made within our legacy Credibility solutions, and $17 million of lower usage primarily related to COVID-19, North America underlying revenues increased 3%.

North America Finance and Risk full-year revenues were $811 million, an increase of $2.5 million or less than 1%. The increase was primarily driven by higher subscription-based revenues of approximately $30 million; partially offset by lower revenues of approximately $17 million of lower usage primarily attributable to the impact of COVID-19; and lower revenues of approximately $11 million primarily due to structural changes we made within our legacy Credibility solutions. North America Sales and Marketing full-year revenues decreased $7.3 million or 1% to $649 million. The decrease was primarily due to lower royalty revenues of approximately $20 million from the Data.com legacy partnership, along with lower usage revenues across our Sales and Marketing solution, partially due to the impact of COVID-19.

These transitory headwinds were offset by a net increase in revenue across our Sales and Marketing solutions of approximately $6 million, largely attributable to our D&B Direct API solution. In addition, revenue increased by $6.5 million from the acquisition of Lattice, which was acquired at the beginning of the third quarter of 2019. Full-year adjusted EBITDA for North America increased to $696 million primarily due to lower operating costs resulting from ongoing cost management efforts that drove lower net personnel expenses. Full-year adjusted EBITDA margin for North America was 47.7%, an increase of 60 basis points.

Turning to Slide 5. In our International segment, fourth-quarter revenues increased 10% or 8% on a constant-currency basis to $80 million, primarily driven by growth in the Worldwide Network and the United Kingdom. Finance and Risk fourth-quarter revenues were $64 million, an increase of 11% and an increase of 8% on a constant-currency basis primarily due to higher revenue of approximately $4 million in Worldwide Network alliances due to higher cross-border data sales and higher revenue from Risk Solutions in our U.K. market for approximately $1 million.

Sales and marketing fourth-quarter revenues were $16 million, an increase of 6% and an increase of 4% on a constant-currency basis, primarily attributable to higher revenue from API solutions in our U.K. market of approximately $1 million. Fourth-quarter International adjusted EBITDA of $23 million increased 4% versus fourth-quarter 2019 primarily due to higher revenues. The adjusted EBITDA margin was 29%.

Turning to Slide 6. In our International segment, full-year 2020 revenues were $299 million, an increase of $6.6 million or 2% or 1% on a constant-currency basis. Excluding $9 million of transitory headwinds, $6 million from the Worldwide Network and our U.K. business, $3 million from COVID-19, International revenues grew approximately 5% on a constant-currency basis.

International Finance and Risk full-year revenue of $244 million increased $9 million or 4%, 3% on a constant-currency basis, primarily driven by higher revenue of approximately $10 million from Worldwide Network due to higher cross-border data sales, higher revenues of approximately $1 million from the increased sales of risk solutions in the United Kingdom and $2 million from our Greater China market driven by solutions targeted at small businesses, partially offset by lower usage volumes in our Asian markets of approximately $2 million primarily due to the impact of COVID-19 and transitory headwinds in the Worldwide Network in the U.K. of $6 million. International Sales and Marketing full-year revenues of $56 million decreased $2 million or 4% and 5% on a constant-currency basis. Excluding the positive impact from foreign exchange of $0.4 million, the decrease in revenue was driven primarily by lower product royalties from our Worldwide Network alliances of approximately $1 million and lower usage volume in our Asia market of approximately $1 million primarily due to the impact of COVID-19.

Full-year 2020 International adjusted EBITDA of $95 million decreased $4 million or 4% versus 2019 due to net revenue increases from solutions with incremental costs, including increased Worldwide Network data expenses. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 31.7%. Fourth-quarter adjusted EBITDA for the Corporate segment increased $50 million primarily due to the net impact of lower purchase accounting deferred revenue adjustments of $39 million. Adjusted EBITDA for the Corporate segment for the full-year 2020 improved by $160 million or 68% compared to prior year on a combined pro forma basis.

The improvement was primarily due to the net impact of lower deferred revenue adjustments of $134 million and lower net personnel expenses due to lower incentive-based compensation. Turning to Slide 7. I'll walk through our capital structure. At the end of December 31, 2020, we had cash and cash equivalents of $354 million, which, when combined with full capacity of our recently upsized $850 million revolving line of credit due 2025, represents total liquidity of approximately $1.2 billion.

As of December 31, total debt principal was $3,381 million, and our leverage ratio was 4.6 times on a gross basis and 4.1 times on a net basis. The credit facility senior secured net leverage ratio was 3.4 times. On January 27, 2021, we repriced our term loan with a 50-basis point lower spread, now at 325 basis points. This will save us approximately $14 million of annual interest.

We are happy with the progress we are making to deleverage our balance sheet and improve our credit rates, allowing us more flexibility to further support our growth, both organically and inorganically. Regarding our January 8, 2021, closing on the acquisition of Bisnode, the transaction closed with a combination of approximately 6.2 million newly issued shares of common stock of the company in a private placement and approximately $625 million of net cash. The cash portion was funded with $300 million of incremental term loan and cash on the balance sheet and a small amount from the revolving credit facility which has since been paid down. Turning now to Slide 8.

I'll now walk through our outlook for full-year 2021. Adjusted revenues are expected to be in the range of $2,145 million to $2,175 million, an increase of approximately 23.5% to 25% compared to full-year 2020 adjusted revenues of $1,738 million. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be in the range of $840 million to $855 million, an increase of approximately 17.5% to 19.5%, compared to full-year 2020 adjusted EBITDA of $715 million. Adjusted EPS is expected to be in the range of $1.02 to $1.06.

These estimates include the impact of Bisnode. With the combination of the two entities, certain revenues and costs became internal transfers and are now being eliminated. We are currently estimating $65 million of elimination that will be EBITDA-neutral but does impact comparability to the prior revenues and expenses reported by Bisnode through Ratos. Subsequent to the application of these elimination, the incremental adjusted revenues will have a 19-point impact on the total full-year growth, which includes the sun-downing of approximately $50 million in legacy solutions revenues that we expect to have fully run off by the end of 2022.

Additional modeling details underlying our outlook are as follows: Interest expense of $200 million to $210 million; depreciation and amortization expense of approximately $90 million, excluding incremental depreciation and amortization expense resulting from purchase accounting; adjusted effective tax rate of approximately 24%; weighted average shares outstanding of approximately 430 million; and finally, capex of approximately $160 million. Although we do not provide quarterly guidance, I want to provide you with some color as to how we expect to progress throughout the year. Excluding the deferred revenue adjustment of $17.4 million in Q1 2020, we are projecting adjusted revenue growth in the first quarter of 2021 to be at the low end of our guidance range as we work through the end of the Data.com wind-down and the impact of COVID-19. As we enter the second quarter, we expect to be toward the middle end of our guidance range with growth accelerating to the high end of our range into the fourth quarter due to the lack of prior-year transitory headwinds, the impact of contractual revenue increases, and the ramp-up of new solutions revenues.

For adjusted EBITDA, excluding the deferred revenue adjustment of $17.4 million in Q1 2020, we are projecting adjusted EBITDA growth in the first quarter to be at the low end of our range as the annualization of cost savings for 2020 are partially offset with increased public company costs of approximately $4 million per quarter in the first half and $1.5 million per quarter in the second half. We expect the second and third quarters to be below the low end of the range and the fourth quarter to be above the high end of the range of our guidance. Overall, we are very pleased with the progress we made in 2020 related to our transformation and the underlying performance of the business, and we are excited about our momentum headed into 2021. With that, we're now happy to open the call to questions.

Operator, will you please open up the line for Q&A?

Questions & Answers:


Operator

[Operator instructions] Your first question comes from Hamzah Mazari of Jefferies. Your line is open.

Hamzah Mazari -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Hey, good morning. Thank you. My first question is largely around the transactional piece of your business. I guess subscription component is maybe 85%.

Could you maybe talk about how you are thinking about impact of a successful vaccine rollout on the transaction side of the business? And whether that's sort of baked into your 2021 guidance.

Bryan Hipsher -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Sure, Hamza. Thanks for the question. You hit it right.

It's 85%-plus and, I think, growing as we continue to drive the increase in multiyear contracts. And we saw nice growth in the overall subscription base this year. When we think about 2021 and the rollout and starting to moderate from a COVID perspective, Q1, we're expecting to still see a little bit of volume pressure similar to what we saw in Q2 and Q3. As the year progresses and we start to lap those comps in Q2, Q3, and Q4, we thought about that and considered it no longer as a headwind in the 2021 plan.

Hamzah Mazari -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Got it. Thank you. And just my follow-up question is just on pricing. Could you maybe talk about when you expect to see pricing ramp in the business? Is it more of a 2022 event, or do we begin to see that later this year? I know you've invested a lot on cleaning up the product, the infrastructure as well.

And then you're moving to multi-year contracts as well. So maybe you can layer that into the pricing discussion, too. Thank you.

Anthony Jabbour -- Chief Executive Officer

Sure, Hamza. It's Anthony. As I said, we're focused, obviously, on creating a structure that provides a fair exchange of value with our customers, obviously, for the service that we're offering them. And there's a number of things that we're doing.

So tremendous work across all areas of our business from a transformation perspective, improving the service, which gives us the right, obviously, to increase price. We've signed multi-year contracts with built-in escalators, which helps provide that as well. And so there's a lot of great work that's been going on in addition to some detailed analysis. But to get to the heart of your question.

We're expecting over 1% of growth this year from pricing. So it is something that the work that we've been putting in last year is getting traction, and we're excited about where we're at with it.

Hamzah Mazari -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Great. Thank you so much.

Anthony Jabbour -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Bryan Hipsher -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from Manav Patnaik of Barclays. Your line is open.

Manav Patnaik -- Barclays -- Analyst

Thank you. In terms of the core performance, I think 3% seemed like the number that was consistent in 4Q and full year for the total company and North America. I just wanted to confirm that those are organic numbers and also perhaps what that organic number is embedded in your assumption for 2021.

Bryan Hipsher -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure. Yeah. Manav, that's correct. We lapped the Lattice acquisition really in Q2 of 2020.

And so in Q3 and Q4, those were clean organic numbers from that perspective. As we're rolling into 2021, what we called out was that, of the growth range that we provided, about 19 points is coming from Bisnode from that perspective. And so as Bisnode flows through each quarter, we'll lay out their results from that perspective.

Manav Patnaik -- Barclays -- Analyst

OK. Got it. And just from a capex perspective, the $160 million felt a little bit high, but perhaps did Bisnode add a chunk to that? I was just hoping you could break that number down.

Bryan Hipsher -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes. That's exactly right. So Bisnode was included in that, Manav. The core business is still going to be around, call it, $120 million, $130 million.

And clearly, we're continuing to do the bottoms-up analysis that we have in the past. Bisnode then adds that next roughly $30 million as we continue to work through their run rate along with the transition we're making from kind of the new modern product offerings that we're rolling out.

Manav Patnaik -- Barclays -- Analyst

OK. And then if I could just follow up there. Is that mostly that growth capex or maintenance capex? How do you think of that?

Bryan Hipsher -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. The vast majority of it is growth capex. And so from a maintenance perspective, there's actually very little. And we now, Manav, have very little, what I would call, PP&E because of our shift to the cloud.

So again, most of that is internally developed software predicated on either major enhancements to existing products or net new solutions.

Manav Patnaik -- Barclays -- Analyst

OK. Thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from Gary Bisbee of Bank of America. Your line is open.

Gary Bisbee -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Hey, guys. Good morning. A couple of questions on just Bisnode in the financial impact. Bryan, you mentioned there was the $65 million of revenue, I'm trying to remember what you called that, just elimination due to the business.

Can you provide a little more color on that? And also, is there a deferred revenue writedown or purchase accounting adjustment related to this acquisition? Or is that the only difference between the number you mentioned when you announced the acquisition and what's implied in the guidance here?

Bryan Hipsher -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, Gary, that's right. So starting with the second one, there are not deferred revenue writedowns from that perspective. So I know we had that concept coming out of the privatization. But with Bisnode and some of the interpretation of some recent guidance pronouncement, there's not going to be a deferred revenue differential between the adjusted revenues that we show from that perspective.

When we talk about the eliminations, Gary, these are expenses and revenues on both sides of the equation, D&B, and Bisnode. And so because they were a Worldwide Network partner, in essence, we were selling some data to them, they were selling data back to us. There were royalty arrangements, right, that were flowing through where they would sell products and then we would have a royalty coming back. So that would be an expense to them but revenue to us.

And so when you combine the two entities, what you end up doing is you eliminate both the revenue and the expense on each side of the ledger. And so that reduced revenue, but it also reduced expenses. And so the EBITDA contribution that we had discussed didn't change. It was just the magnitude of the reported revenue.

Gary Bisbee -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Can you give us a sense what margin then is built in for the Bisnode, that 19% revenue? Like how much profit is that or what margin?

Bryan Hipsher -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. So if you think about it, Gary, it's now kind of in the low 20s.

Gary Bisbee -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

OK. And then the follow-up, if I could, just I think Manav sort of got at this, but if you take that 19% out and the 1.5% impact from comping the deferred revenue writedown a year ago, it looks like, I don't know, call it, 3.5% to 4% sort of underlying revenue is -- am I doing that math right? And I think with the dollar weakness, FX is probably a benefit to the business in '21. So is it right to think the organic constant currency may be more like, I don't know, 3% or something? Is that right? Or is there something else that's going on there? Thank you.

Bryan Hipsher -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So Gary, if you take it, you start with the 19 points, as you said. And then it's about 1 point from there in consideration of the deferred revenue adjustment primarily in the first quarter of last year. And so as you're doing the math, you're right, it's coming out to right around that kind of, call it, 3%, 3.5% to 4%, 4.5%.

Gary Bisbee -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

OK. Thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from Brett Huff of Stephens Inc. The line is open.

Brett Huff -- Stephens Inc. -- Analyst

Thank you. Good morning, everybody. Hope everybody still safe.

Anthony Jabbour -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Brett, and you, too.

Brett Huff -- Stephens Inc. -- Analyst

Two questions from me on two different product lines. One is the business information, the Hoovers product. I know there's lots of competition out there, and I know we're investing a lot in that. So if we can get an update on that and just talk about growth kind of overall in '20 and then what it's contributing to '21.

And then the same question on the SMB credit bureau here in the U.S. You talked a little bit about that, but I wonder if you could kind of give us growth in '20 and kind of what we expect in 2021. Thank you.

Anthony Jabbour -- Chief Executive Officer

Sure. I'll start on both of them. And, Bryan, feel free to chime in. On the Hoovers side, we continue to make great progress on our contact data.

Obviously, we've got a great richness in our firmographic data, our parent-child relationships that are really unmatched. And from a contact data perspective, we're very pleased. We continued to work very hard at building that out. On the contact side, have almost 5 times as many high-quality contacts as we had during -- at the time of the privatization.

So maybe some other color I'd share is we've done some analysis at some of the Dun's numbers that were probably the most active. And we're really, really excited with the work that we're doing and the high hit rates and the high quality that we had for those. So we're excited, obviously, in that space. And with the SMB space as well, the portal that we're putting together is just really exciting for us.

And we think it's going to have us approaching the SMB marketplace differently than has been historically, right? And therefore, we have different expectations than we've had historically. It's really creating a corridor for all these small, medium businesses that are constantly coming to us on the daily basis, as I said in my prepared remarks, for a whole host of reasons: Dun number, improving credit profiles, or want to be a supplier, etc. But by having more solutions that we're tailoring -- at the last call, I talked about our D&B Connect product, which, again, it's a sign of creating more capabilities for this space. So it's salable to this market segment.

We're just excited with the partners that we're bringing on to the portal as well with their SMB product type capabilities as well. So it'd be a richness of offering that we have for that segment. And the side benefit, obviously, is we're also deepening our relationships with our enterprise clients who are putting products onto the portal. So we're just really excited really about the efforts that we have in both of those areas, Brett.

Brett Huff -- Stephens Inc. -- Analyst

Great. Thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from Jeff Silber of BMO Capital Markets. Your line is open.

Jeff Silber -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Thank you so much. I think you mentioned that about 36% of your contracts are now multi-year. Are most of your future deals multi-year contracts? And then just curious, when clients are renewing, are you moving in that mode as well? Thanks.

Anthony Jabbour -- Chief Executive Officer

Sure. Our direction from a sales perspective, our go-to-market shift really has been on a multi-year. And so the short answer is yes, we're going to continue our push in that space. It's not something that we would get to.

Most companies don't get to 100% of all contracts being multi-year. There's a series of contracts that are more short-term in nature. But we're focused on getting to 40% then to 50% and continuing our efforts that way, both domestically and internationally. It makes sense, obviously, for us from a business perspective, but it makes sense as well if you connect the dots in terms of what we're offering our clients as they transform their business, as they leverage more of our API solution set.

They're now getting programmatically connected to us, right, which takes effort on their part. It creates a stickier relationship. So it also makes sense for them to want a multiyear contract. And so for all those reasons, we're pursuing that.

Jeff Silber -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

OK. Great. And my follow-up is actually for Bryan. Looking at your guidance, it looks like you're implying adjusted EBITDA margins to decline in 2021.

You mentioned earlier the Bisnode acquisition is a little bit of a lower-margin business. I know this is tough to do. But if you would take that out, would we have seen margin expansion this year? And roughly, how much would have that been? Thanks.

Bryan Hipsher -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes, Jeff, that's exactly right. And so you had the lower-margin Bisnode EBITDA coming through. But from our perspective, we had talked about 50 to 100 bps of margin expansion from that perspective. And with this, this sort of put us around, call it, 70-ish, right, plus, within the range from that perspective.

So still expanding toward the higher end of the kind of prior range we've put out there.

Jeff Silber -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

OK. Great. That's very helpful. Thanks so much.

Operator

Your next question comes from George Tong of Goldman Sachs. Your line is open.

George Tong -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Hi. Thanks. Good morning. I wanted to dive deeper into drivers of organic growth for 2021.

If we focus on the North America segment, can you perhaps talk a little bit about trends that you're seeing with new sales, retention rates, and cross-selling within F&R and then within Sales and Marketing?

Anthony Jabbour -- Chief Executive Officer

Sure, George. Yes. What we're seeing there is a buildup. So first of all, we're seeing continued improvement in our retention rates, which is positive from an organic growth perspective.

And we're also seeing a traction developing with the new capabilities that we're bringing to market. So as we talked about, we're very focused on creating new innovations that will drive growth. And we've got a number of new products that we had launched last year, our risk analytics product, our Analytics Studio, D&B Connect, our coAction, etc. And so as those get traction with our clients and as we sell more, we're excited about that.

And in 2021, there are a number of things that we've got going on there as well. But the one I'm probably most excited about is the SMB portal that we talked about and the possibilities of what that can do for us in the segment that has not been our strongest segment compared to, obviously, our larger-client segment.

George Tong -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Got it. That's helpful. And then just as a follow-up, can you talk about some of the top initiatives that you have around data and analytics, as well as go-to-market that you have planned for 2021? Just perhaps the top one or two that you expect to have the most contribution for top-line growth. I know you talked a little bit about the products just now, just the data, and then Sales and Marketing.

Anthony Jabbour -- Chief Executive Officer

Sure. From a data perspective, just a constant stream of work going on there as part of our transformation. I know we don't spend enough time kind of talking about each of these things. But we've covered another 21 million businesses in the quarter, so now at 421 businesses covered.

Our contact data, like I said, is around 23 million high-quality customer contacts. We've onboarded, we talked with Project Ascent, that we're going to bring on additional alternative data sources. We have already 16 of them that are fueling new analytics for our clients. And also, particularly working with them in our Analytics Studio and co-collaborating with them has been a very positive, I'll say, as far as a relationship, and building on our business development.

And then the other one I'd probably highlight on the data side is expanding our global universe of beneficial owners. And so there, we had significant increases as well. So we've got a lot of great work that's going on in the space where it's -- like I said, every time we check back on where we're at, we're seeing meaningful progress, which gives us confidence that all the actions that we're taking, the work that we're putting in is paying off.

George Tong -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Very helpful. Thank you.

Anthony Jabbour -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from Kevin McVeigh of Credit Suisse. Your line is open.

Kevin McVeigh -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Great. Thank you so much. Hey, congrats on the 70-basis points retention improvement. Can you help us understand kind of what drove that? Or was it just more client satisfaction with the curated data? Or just changes in sales force? Just anything else around that.

And again, very, very good number. I wonder what we can expect going forward on that.

Anthony Jabbour -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Kevin. Yes, I'd say a large part of it, and we've talked about this on previous calls, certainly, is that doing all the right things by a client is going to translate to improved retention. And we've, like I said, transformed every part of our business, and we're constantly transforming it more and more, leveraging AI with our client services in terms of improving the quality of it and lowering the cost. We talked about improvements in our data, improvements in our technology, our uptime has improved, our latency has improved, all the things that you'd look operationally across a business that you would see.

I mean, nobody runs, obviously, perfectly. And so as we look at everything, we've tracked it. We've got a really rigid process in terms of coming back and continuing to measure the progress that we're making. But I see the improvements in our data quality, the amounts of data that we're bringing into different types of data, the new launches with our products, right? I think all these things contribute to retention because everyone out there is looking for who can they partner with? Who can help them transform their business? And I think all these things really led to a confidence that our clients are getting and seeing from us, and we're excited about that and want to continue to build on that, Kevin.

Kevin McVeigh -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

That makes a ton of sense. And then I don't know, Bryan or Anthony, you talked about sunsetting some revenue within Bisnode. Is there any way to maybe quantify that and then what the margin impact would be on that? I would imagine it's probably lower-margin relative to just what the core business was overall.

Anthony Jabbour -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I'll start and I'll pass it to Bryan. Yes, we are going to sunset. But as you can imagine, there is some revenue in the business that wasn't high-quality revenue, revenue we were interested in that wasn't strategic.

It clearly made sense to do the acquisition, especially from a post-synergy perspective, when you look at all the things that we are getting from the acquisition. But there are parts of it that honestly would be a distraction and would impact our growth and our margins. And so we're sunsetting them probably the next couple of years and looking to move to more modern solutions. But, Bryan, from a margin impact, do you want to --

Bryan Hipsher -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes. Kevin, in my prepared remarks, we mentioned about $50 million of the legacy solutions we'd be winding down, as Anthony said, over the next, call it, two years. That, in essence, is going to be replaced by some of the Dun & Bradstreet products, right? And so as you can imagine, when we're thinking about the overall synergy number being about $40 million, some of that is going to come from the elimination of these legacy solutions. And so the overall portfolio, right, has a lot of opportunity to be consolidated under our Finance and Risk products along with our Sales and Marketing products.

And so certainly, we'll look to that to be a contributing factor to that $40 million in synergies we're expecting.

Kevin McVeigh -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Thank you all.

Operator

Your next question comes from Andrew Steinerman of J.P. Morgan. Your line is open.

Andrew Steinerman -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Thank you. Good morning, Bryan. You said that first-quarter revenue cadence would be at the low end of the full-year revenue range if I heard it correctly. So I just wanted to make sure that you're saying that first-quarter organic constant-currency revenue will be about 3%, including the drags from COVID, Data.com, and Credibility.

And if you could just also mention how much those residual drags will be in the first quarter.

Bryan Hipsher -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure, Andrew. So if we look at kind of backing out Bisnode, as you said, this quarter, we grew, call it, 1.5%; constant currency, about 1.8%, right, AFX. And so we would expect the first quarter to look a little bit better than that, right? And so in that similar pattern. From the two impacts that are really remaining in the first quarter are the last portion of the Data.com roll down and then COVID impact that we would expect to be not as high as in Q4, but more similar to Q2 or Q3.

So call each of those $5 million, $6 million apiece.

Andrew Steinerman -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

Due to time constraint, I would now like to turn the call back over to Anthony Jabbour for closing remarks.

Anthony Jabbour -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you. In summary, we're pleased with the progress to continue to transform Dun & Bradstreet. We have a great company, and we'll continue to be focused on maximizing shareholder value. As always, I'd like to thank my Dun & Bradstreet colleagues for their exceptional efforts and our clients for their strong relationships and partnerships.

Thank you for your interest in Dun & Bradstreet and for joining us on the call today.

Operator

[Operator signoff]

Duration: 61 minutes

Call participants:

Deb McCann -- Treasurer and Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate FP&A

Anthony Jabbour -- Chief Executive Officer

Bryan Hipsher -- Chief Financial Officer

Hamzah Mazari -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Manav Patnaik -- Barclays -- Analyst

Gary Bisbee -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Brett Huff -- Stephens Inc. -- Analyst

Jeff Silber -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

George Tong -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Kevin McVeigh -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Andrew Steinerman -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

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