Investment firms to buy Acxiom for $3 billion

Customer data management company Acxiom has agreed to be bought by two private equity firms

Customer information management company Acxiom has agreed to be acquired by two private equity firms for US$3 billion in cash.

Acxiom has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by the equity firms Silver Lake and ValueAct Capital. The price tag includes the assumption of about $756 million in debt, the companies announced Wednesday.

They expect to close the deal in three to four months, subject to the approval of regulators and Acxiom's shareholders, who are being offered $27.10 per share. That's a premium of 14 percent over Acxiom's closing price Wednesday. Terms of the deal allow Acxiom to solicit offers from other potential buyers. Acxiom sells software and services that help companies manage customer data. It also sells a vast database of U.S. consumer information, including telephone numbers, for marketing campaigns.

Acxiom also announced its fourth-quarter and full year financial results on Wednesday. Revenue for the quarter climbed 4 percent from a year earlier, to US$357.3 million, while diluted earnings per share slipped 69 percent to $0.08 per share, the company said. The earnings were pulled down by costs from the closure of Acxiom's Spanish operations, as well as the retirement of debt and other factors, Acxiom said.

It's not the first big buyout by a private equity firm proposed this year. Last month electronic payments provider First Data agreed to be bought by an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. for US$29 billion.

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