Acxiom to Go Private in $3B Cash Deal

Two private equity investors have agreed to acquire Acxiom, which provides customer data integration technology, data products, database services, IT outsourcing, consulting, analytics and privacy services.

ValueAct Capital and Silver Lake, which focuses on large-scale investments in technology-driven growth industries, will purchase 100 percent of the outstanding equity interests in Acxiom in an all-cash transaction valued at US$3 billion, which includes the assumption of approximately $756 million of debt.

Acxiom stockholders will receive $27.10 in cash for each outstanding share of stock — a 14 percent premium over the last trading day before disclosure of the agreement, and a 20 percent premium over Acxiom’s average closing price per share during the prior month.

Other Suitors?

Acxiom’s board of directors approved the merger deal and recommended that stockholders vote in favor of it. However, the agreement provides that Acxiom may solicit proposals from other companies during the next two months, which the board of directors said it will do.

Barring the appearance of new suitors for Acxiom’s assets and brand name, the transaction is expected to close in the next three to four months.

A pre-existing relationship with one of the two private equity firms — ValueAct Capital has been an investor in Acxiom for several years — suggests that the deal is likely to be consummated.

ValueAct Capital “has consistently contributed valuable strategic insights to our business over the past four years,” said Charles Morgan, Acxiom’s chairman and CEO, “and Jeffrey Ubben, ValueAct Capital’s managing partner, has provided further leadership since August 2006 as a member of our board of directors.”

Private Equity Juggernaut

This particular deal doesn’t have the sex appeal of private equity uberfirm Blackstone’s $7.8 billion acquisition of Alliance Data, coincidentally announced on the same day.

Still, it’s yet another data point illustrating the liquidity that private equity firms are pushing into the software and related services area. Indeed, now that most of the obvious targets have been acquired or are being circled by the large players, firms are dropping to smaller, niche providers for acquisitions.

Acxiom offers a unique blend of services, but it fits into the broad category of business intelligence, Charles King, principal of Pund-IT told CRM Buyer.

“The whole area of data management-BI has been very active lately,” he said. “Most of the tier one vendors are moving into it now — some with acquisitions, some with newly developed solutions.”

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