Acxiom Corp. Beefs Up

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

CONWAY, AK – Acxiom Corp has agreed to acquire May & Speh Inc., a direct market competitor, for stock valued at $17.44 a share or about $625 million, the company announced.

The move is seen as part of the continuing trend towards consolidation that saw Universal Stores PLC of the UK win control of Lombard, IL-based Metromail Corp. for $845 million in April.

Acxiom provides data products and other services to Fortune 500 clients such as IBM, Microsoft, and others. Downers Grove, IL-based May & Speh does direct marketing and information management that uses sophisticated technology to provide customers such as Sears Roebuck & Co. with demographic analysis and other types of services.

The new joint venture could mean annual revenues of $700 million and will offer industry expertise in financial services, utilities, and retailing, say company officials.

Under terms of the new agreement, each share of May & Speh will be exchanged for 0.8 percent of a share of Acxiom.

“The technology and data content of the two companies fit well together,” says Charles D. Morgan, Acxiom chairman.

May & Speh chairman and ceo Peter I. Mason, says, “This will allow us to deliver more robust solutions to a broader array of customers.

The deal highlights the continuing consolidation in the direct mail industries, as companies vie to be one-stop providers. These include Harte-Hanks, Inc., and the Omaha-based American Business Information Inc., the loser in the Metromail tussle with Great Universal (see above article.)

Executives of the new Acxiom/May & Speh merger say that the challenge they face will be getting the revenues that they are expecting from the integration of their sales and other efforts.

May & Speh has been particularly successful using its huge lists of names to build data warehouses for clients and providing services to customers via desktop computers.

While direct marketing represents about 60 percent of the revenue of May & Speh, the company also provides outsourcing for companies that don’t want to run their own management-information systems, officials say.

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