Acxiom Corp. agreed to acquire Claritas Europe from VNU N.V. last month for $40 million.
The acquisition, which was expected to close within 30 days, adds Claritas Europe’s lifestyle and segmentation data to Acxiom’s data manipulation capabilities, and deepens Acxiom’s footprint in Europe. Acxiom has offices in London, Leeds and Sunderland, England, as well as in Paris. Claritas Europe’s operations include data acquisition and sales offices in Paris; Frankfurt; Warsaw; Madrid; Lisbon; Teddington, England; and Leiderdorp, Netherlands.
While Little Rock, AR-based Acxiom will maintain sales offices in these locations, the company will consolidate its siloed information technology and support operations, such as human resources, into either regional or all-European structures. The operational base will be Acxiom’s U.K. offices.
According to Acxiom company leader Charles Morgan, VNU has no plans to sell Claritas North America. Instead, VNU will integrate that business into its ACNielsen operations, Morgan said.
Kevin Zaffaroni, currently an Acxiom group leader for financial services, will head Acxiom’s European and Australian operations and will report to Morgan. Wally Anderson, group leader for Acxiom’s AbiliTec Technology Group, will serve in a chief technology officer’s function, although his exact title had not been determined at press time.
Cindy Truyens, managing director of Acxiom’s U.K. operations and director of Acxiom France, will lead the company’s expanded United Kingdom operations. Auke Jan van den Hout, currently managing director for Claritas Europe’s database marketing division, will run the Northern European operations, and Thierry Asmar, managing director of Claritas France, will head up the Southern Europe group.
Bruce Carroll, a senior Acxiom executive, will take responsibility for merging the two companies’ data products. Carroll also was a founding partner of Claritas in the United States.
The move will increase Acxiom’s European revenue, which is now around $60 million, to $160 million. Morgan expects the combined European operations to increase revenue by 8% to 10% by the end of the company’s fiscal year in March 2005. Acxiom’s total revenue for 2003 is some $958.2 billion.