Acxiom’s 3Q earnings beat Wall Street views, stock trading near 52-week high

by Wesley Brown ([email protected]) 160 views 

Acxiom Corp.’s third quarter earnings were slightly improved from a year ago as the Little Rock company turns its focus to growing its people-based marketing that allows advertisers to seamlessly target consumers across multiple digital and mobile devices.

For the period ended Dec. 31, the Little Rock tech company reported an operating loss of $9 million compared to a loss of $33 million a year ago. Revenues rose 1% to $223 million, up from $221 million in 2015.

Earnings adjusted for one-time items and stock option expenses were 24 cents per share. A survey of seven Wall Street analysts had forecasted the Arkansas data analytics and marketing concern to report third quarter earnings of 15 cents per share on revenue of $219 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

“Our global momentum continues to accelerate,” said Acxiom CEO Scott Howe. “In addition, the integration of Arbor and Circulate is well underway and we are delivering the client benefits and financial synergies we anticipated. This is a win for our partner network, clients and shareholders.”

At the close of business Tuesday, Acxiom stock rose six cents at $26.10 per share on the tech-influenced Nasdaq stock exchange. In the past 52 weeks, the company’s shares have traded in the range of $17.70 for a low end and a high of $27.73, touched on Jan. 13.

Acxiom announced on Nov. 17 it would acquire New York City-based Arbor and Philadelphia-founded Circulate in a $190 million stock-and-cash deal, but that price tag jumped by more than $20 million a few weeks later when the Little Rock publicly-traded firm offered stock options to key executives and employees from the startups to remain with the company.

In closing the deal in less than three weeks, Acxiom said the acquisitions will increase the scale of its LiveRamp unit’s identity and customer recognition network, and would also enable both startup brands to expand the company’s people-based marketing beyond Google and Facebook.

Two weeks ago, Acxiom entered into the alliance with New York City-based Verve Mobile to further empower both data marketing firms’ efforts to reach mobile consumers with greater levels of precision and accuracy through multiple mobile and digital channels – all to the benefit of brands and advertisers.

In conjunction with the quarterly earnings report, Acxiom announced another partnership with Boston-based DataXu to expand the company’s capabilities to license third-party data for advanced TV and analytics solutions. The first-of-its-kind partnership will allow advertisers and agencies to engage their own first-party audiences across all multiple channels, including TV, and drive more effective data-driven marketing across all screens, Acxiom said.

Other Acxiom third quarter highlights from key business segments include:

· In the Marketing Services division, revenue was $101 million, down 13% compared to the third quarter of last year. Marketing Database and Strategy & Analytics revenue grew 1% year-over-year, but was more than offset by the divestiture of Acxiom Impact. Segment income was $21 million, up 4% compared to the prior year.

· Audience Solutions’ revenue was $83 million, up 8% compared to the prior year. Segment income was $35 million, up 13% compared to the prior year. Segment margin improved to 41%.

· In Acxiom’s Connectivity business, revenue was $39 million, up 36% compared to the third quarter of last year. The third quarter boost includes the Arbor and Circulate acquisitions, while LiveRamp product revenue grew 61% year-over-year. Segment income was $2 million compared to a loss of $1 million in the prior year.

For fiscal 2017, Acxiom said it expects to report full-year revenue in the range of $870 million to $875 million, down slightly from earlier forecast in the range of $870 to $890 million. The Little Rock company reported yearly revenue of $850 million in fiscal 2016.