Acxiom acquires retail marketing business

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cxiom Corp. acquired an Ohio-based, retail-focused marketing and merchandising analysis firm that has partnered with the Little Rock data firm in a joint venture since 1999, company officials reported Friday.

"This acquisition enables Acxiom to offer a unique combination of custom consulting and analysis, deep customer insight and standardized assessment that accelerates financial return for retailers," Acxiom Company Leader Charles Morgan said.

Equitec specializes in the retail industry and its clients include Saks, The Home Depot, Travelocity, Black & Decker and General Electric.

The company analyzes customer, product and market data to reduce unproductive inventory and cut ineffective marketing, improving retailers financial performance.

Acxiom, on the other hand, is known for helping businesses strengthen customer relationships and retention and increase market share through data management.

With the Equitec acquisition, Acxiom will help retailers adjust assortments and allocation to consumer tastes in specific stores – or combine supply and demand data – ultimately boosting same-store sales, the company said.

"Retail is increasingly a difficult business in which to prosper," said Mike Henry, CEO and founder of Equitec. "It's no longer good enough to know 'what's selling;' increasingly, 'who's buying' matters more."

In 1999, the two companies teamed up in the joint venture, Market Advantage, which basically was an effort to do the same thing for retailers that the acquisition should.

The partnership "generated numerous client results including the generation of $14 million in new business on a $100 million base," Acxiom said.

All Equitec principals are being retained in the acquisition and will continue to lead the firm, according to Acxiom officials. Equitec is headquartered in Cleveland, has a regional office in Colorado and employs about 40 people.

Terms of the asset purchase were not released.

Acxiom shares (Nasdaq: ACXM) closed Friday at $25.35, down 2 cents.

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