Acxiom will help you make sense of customer information. The provider of data and software used for direct marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) collects and maintains a storehouse of consumer information covering nearly every household in the US. It has real estate records on millions of properties that it offers to clients needing contact and demographics for direct mail and telemarketing. Acxiom helps companies manage customer data and integrate that information into marketing systems. It draws clients from various sectors including financial services, packaged goods, automotive, health care, and telecommunications. Acxiom has operations in Australia, Canada, China, Europe, and the US.
The company's operations are organized in three business segments: Marketing and Data Services, IT Infrastructure Management, and Other Services. Marketing and Data services consist of tools and services such as data analytics and building and managing customer marketing databases. IT Infrastructure Management provides IT outsourcing such as mainframe, server hosting, and cloud computing services. The Other Services includes e-mail fulfillment, risk management, and UK fulfillment services (outsourced call-center operations).
Acxiom has offices in Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Poland, the UK, and the US. The US contributed about 85% of the company's total revenue, while the remaining 15% came from international locations.
Revenue increased slightly (some 1.5%) in 2012 compared to the prior year, thanks to an increase in Marketing and Data Service (MDS) revenues. In particlar, MDS saw increased business activity from the consumer, convergent, and financial services markets.
Acxiom's net income soared to $71.5 million in 2012, up from a loss of $28.4 million in 2011. The company owes the increase to decreased selling, general and administrative expenses from lower non-cash stock compensation costs for executive changes, as well as lower marketing and legal expenditures. It also reported lower impairment of goodwill that year.
The company saw an increase in cash flow during 2012, thanks to an increase in cash provided by operating activities and investing activities; Acxiom reported more working capital in trade and tax payables, accrued payroll, deferred revenue, and the sale of its background screening business, Acxiom Information Security Services (AISS).
Like other companies in the consumer data collection business, Acxiom has faced challenges and concerns surrounding privacy and data security. It has taken steps to secure its data after experiencing hacker break-ins in the past. Still, the company has had to redouble its public relations efforts to quell public fears in the wake of security breaches at ChoicePoint and LexisNexis from a few years back (including a widespread online data breach affecting rival Epsilon in 2011). Acxiom has even turned its previous difficulties into a new business line: it offers consulting services to help its customers secure their own data servers.
In 2012, Acxiom sold Acxiom Information Security Systems (AISS), its background screening unit, to Sterling Infosystems for about $74 million. The company divested AISS in order to focus solely on its core database and marketing services business. It is using the proceeds to whittle down debt and to invest in the modernization of some of its data and marketing products.
Mergers & Acquisitions
Acxiom has relied on acquisitions as a means for expanding outside the US. In 2010 it entered South America when it acquired a majority interest in GoDigital, a Brazillian firm providing software that helps customers manage multichannel marketing campaigns and analyze marketing data. The year before, Acxiom increased its presence in the Middle East through the acquisition of DMI (Direct Marketing Services), based in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. – less