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Potential Bid Lifts Acxiom Shares

Markets | WALL ST. ROUNDUP

June 07, 2005|From Associated Press

Business software maker Acxiom Corp.'s stock surged Monday after its largest shareholder indicated that it might launch a hostile takeover attempt to buy the remainder of the company's shares to revamp Acxiom's financial management. The deal would value the entire company at about $2 billion.

San Francisco-based investment firm ValueAct Capital Partners is offering $23 a share, a 25% premium to Little Rock-based Acxiom's 20-day average closing price. The company's shares rose $3.01, or 16%, to $21.25 on Monday.

Acxiom Chairman Charles D. Morgan said Acxiom's board members "strongly believe in the company's business and current strategy." But Morgan also said the board would review the offer in accordance with its obligations to do what is right for shareholders.

In an internal memo to employees, Morgan said that the offer "does not mean Acxiom is for sale" and that $23 a share was too little. He also said the company had elements in place to prevent a hostile takeover.

"ValueAct's letter does not mean we have received an offer to acquire Acxiom. The letter says only that ValueAct is 'prepared' to make an offer to acquire Acxiom," Morgan told workers in the memo.

ValueAct managing partner Jeffery W. Ubben accused Acxiom in a letter of failing to maximize shareholder value, saying Acxiom had a "lack of willingness to acknowledge obvious management deficiencies and missteps and to take steps to put the company on the path to strong financial performance."

Acxiom, which was founded in 1969, makes marketing software that analyzes customer information.

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