Acxiom Finds Itself in Period of Uncertainty

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Jan. 7, 2008 12:00 am  

Morgan said the poor quarters impacted the attractiveness of the sale.

At the end of September, several news outlets were reporting the deal was in danger of collapsing.

On Oct. 1, the deal was officially off the table. ValueAct and Silver Lake agreed to pay Acxiom a $65 million break-up fee to walk away from the company. The fee was negotiated down from the $110 million break-up fee that the deal originally specified.

In the Aftermath

After the deal collapsed, MMI Investments dumped nearly all its shares of Acxiom stock.

ValueAct Capital Partner's Jeffrey Ubben, who also sits on Acxiom's board of directors, told Forbes after the deal fell apart that "I feel like we can fix this. I don't think it's clear yet, but I'm committed to stay on the board."

Morgan said it was understandable that Ubben would support the company because of ValueAct Capital's investment. It owns 10.3 million shares of Acxiom, or nearly 13 percent.

Ubben didn't return a call for comment.

"He has made a big bid, and clearly he's anxious to do anything he can to see the stock price recover," Morgan said. "I think he is fundamentally trying to give people confidence that everything is going to be OK."

In the meantime, Ubben has made several trips from San Francisco to talk to CEO candidates.

Morgan said he doesn't know what he would have done differently in handling the sale.

"When we started the process, nobody had heard of subprime crises," Morgan said. "If somehow we could have seen the future, we obviously never even would have started the process."



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