Acxiom turns a $7.1 million profit in the second quarter, stock rises nearly 8%

by Wesley Brown (wesbrocomm@gmail.com) 116 views 

Acxiom Corp. on Monday (Nov. 7) reported that second quarter earnings edged into the positive column as the Little Rock-based company exited the email marketing business and focused anew on its data analytics business.

For the three-month period ended Sept. 30, the state’s leading, publicly traded tech firm reported earnings of $7.1 million, or 9 cents per share, compared to a year ago loss of $10.7 million or 2 cents per share loss. Company revenues for the quarter rose by 4.8% to $217.2 million, compared to $207.3 million in the same period of 2015.

Earnings adjusted for one-time items and restructuring and administration costs were 18 cents per share. Acxiom results easily beat Wall Street second quarter expectations of 11 cents per share on revenue of $216.4 million, according to a survey of seven analysts by Thomson Reuters.

Acxiom officials applauded the second quarter results, highlighting the sale of its Zeta Interactive division in late August. The quarterly results sent the company’s shares up almost 8%. The shares (NASDAQ: ACXM) closed Monday at $24,49, up $1.77, or 7.79%. In the past 52 weeks the share price has ranged from a $27.24 high to a $17.32 low.

“Solid second quarter performance was driven by continued strong global execution across each of our businesses,” said Acxiom CEO Scott Howe. “In addition, we are very excited by the launch of LiveRamp IdentityLink to power people-based marketing for the open ecosystem. Identity resolution is key to understanding the customer journey and delivering superior customer experiences. LiveRamp is creating the foundation which will enable true omnichannel marketing.”

On Aug. 31, Acxiom closed on the sale of its email business (Acxiom Impact) to Zeta Interactive, a company founded by David Steinberg and former Apple and Pepsi CEO John Sculley. Although Acxiom did not disclose terms of the deal, industry reports have tagged the price tag in the range of $50 million to $100 million.

Acxiom said funds from the sale will help expand the company’s share buyback program. The Little Rock data marketer’s board of directors has increased the share buyback authorization by $100 million to $400 million and extended the duration of the program through June 30, 2018.

Companywide, Acxiom reported that revenue for its marketing services business was $106 million, down 6% compared to the second quarter of last year. Marketing Database and Strategy & Analytics revenue grew 1% year-over-year, but was more than offset by the sale of Acxiom Impact. Segment income was $20 million, up 11% compared to the prior year.

The company’s audience solutions business reported revenue of $79 million, up 9% from a year ago. Segment income was $30 million, up 19% compared to the prior year. The tech firm’s connectivity division saw revenue of $33 million, up 49% compared to the second quarter of last year. Connectivity exited the quarter with a $135 million annualized revenue run rate, company officials said.

Here are Acxiom’s other highlights for the second quarter.
• LiveRamp launched IdentityLink, its new omnichannel resolution service. IdentityLink builds on the Company’s existing identity resolution capabilities to help brands create a unified view of the consumer and activate that understanding across the marketing ecosystem.

• Connectivity added more than 40 new direct customers during the quarter and added over 50 new partner integrations. Marketers can now onboard and activate their data across a growing network of more than 400 marketing platforms and data providers.

• Audience Solutions entered into a Premier Partnership with Adobe, enabling Acxiom and Adobe Marketing Cloud clients to access Acxiom data via Adobe’s Audience Marketplace with even greater ease to drive more accurate marketing campaigns.

• Acxiom repurchased 390,000 shares for approximately $10 million during the quarter. Since the inception of its share repurchase program in August 2011, Acxiom has repurchased 16.8 million shares for $286 million.

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