You may remember the abrupt departure of Acxiom CEO John Meyer in late March.
The surprise news was packaged with other items of note. Chief Financial Officer Christopher Wolf announced his pending departure. The company’s search for a new CEO might include someone with a skill set in moving Acxiom’s business into the emerging digital marketing field.
At the time, Acxiom also said that it would record a "non-cash impairment charge in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 in connection with a write-down of the carrying value of goodwill and other long-lived assets associated with its international operations." Acxiom estimated the write-down to be between $50 and $90 million.
Acxiom’s shares plummeted on news of the resignations and write-down to around $13.50 a share. The stock has nowhere near recovered since that disclosure.
We may know a few more details tomorrow as Acxiom is scheduled to report its fourth quarter earnings before the markets open.
Today, we get word that another law firm is seeking to start a class-action lawsuit surrounding these events. An original suit was filed nearly a month ago. While these types of lawsuits are not uncommon, the suggestion in this suit may lead to more revelations surrounding Meyer’s exit and Acxiom’s future direction.
The lawsuit announced today (and others) is being brought on behalf of shareholders who purchased or acquired Acxiom common stock between October 27, 2010 and March 30, 2011.
The action, filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, alleges that during that time frame, Acxiom officials "misrepresented and omitted material information" regarding the company’s financial condition.
Specifically, the case alleges that Acxiom was "experiencing a significant decline in its international operations and was not operating according to plan." It also charges that the company failed to "properly and timely account for impaired assets related to its international operations."
Acxiom spokesman Jonathan Portis tells Talk Business, "With regard to recent media coverage about a class-action suit filed against Acxiom on behalf of an institutional investor, it is the belief of Acxiom that is has acted in accordance with the law and has not done anything improper. We intend to vigorously defend the merits of the case."