Update: Acxiom 2Q Earnings Drop 40 Percent; Company Plans to Cut Costs

Acxiom Corp. of Little Rock on Wednesday posted earnings of $9.86 million, down about 40 percent from the same time last year, and said it plans to cut its annual cost base "between $20 million and $30 million over the next 6 to 12 months."

The publicly traded data miner (Nasdaq: ACXM) saw profit drop from the $16.3 million it recorded in the same quarter 2013. Diluted earnings per share were down as well, at 13 cents compared to 21 cents in the same quarter last year.

Quarerly revenue was flat, at $276 million from $277 million last year.

Acxiom said the quarter included about $8.57 million in "unusual items," consisting of $2.18 million in business separation, $3.2 million in legal settlements and $3.18 million in restructuring charges and other adjustments.

"We are at an inflection point and starting the next chapter in our journey," CEO Scott Howe said in a news release. "We are a new company. Over the past two years we have worked to build a better business and to drive innovation. While it's early, we are pleased with the launch of the Acxiom Audience Operating System and the resulting customer reaction and support."

Acxiom launched its AOS during AdWeek in New York City on Sept. 24.

Cutting Costs

In filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Acxiom also announced that it would work to cut its annual cost base between $20 million and $30 million over the next 6 to 12 months.

"The initiative seeks to improve the company’s performance by simplifying the company’s management structure, centralizing duplicative efforts and standardizing workflows," Acxiom said in the filing. "The components of the restructuring program are not finalized and actual total savings and timing may vary from those estimated due to changes in the scope or assumptions underlying the restructuring program."

Acxiom said the move will occur in phases and that it is "unable to make a determination of the estimated amount or range of future costs and cash expenditures."

In a conference call with analysts, Acxiom CFO Warren Jenson said the company is "methodically" examining it management structure and workflows in search of efficiency. He said the company is particularly looking at areas of duplication or places where operations can be centralized, such as information technology.

"We're going to work as we speak. The one thing that we are doing however is that we're being very methodical and very long-term in our approach," he said. "There's no slash and burn here. So what we’re doing is, we're carefully examining layer-by-layer our management structure to figure out how we can better organize ourselves, and we're involving our [employees] in that effort too ..."

Jenson said Acxiom would invest its savings from the cost-cutting effort into other parts of the company.

Acxiom employs about 2,000 people in Arkansas and more than 6,000 worldwide. In February, the company confirmed that a reorganization resulted in "less than 100" jobs being cut companywide, with "fewer than 50" in the state. In August, the firm let 20 go in its marketing department. 

An Acxiom spokesman did not return calls for comment late Wednesdsay.

The company noted other quarterly highlights:

  • In early September it launched AboutTheData.com, a consumer portal allowing individuals to research the data that Acxiom has collected on them.
  • It repurchased about 900,000 shares for $22.7 million. Since August 2011, when Acxiom started its share repurchase program, it has repurchased 12 million shares, about 14.6 percent of its common stock, for $179 million.
  • The company announced a $600 million refinancing of its credit facilities consisting of a $300 million term loan and a $300 million undrawn revolving credit facility, both maturing in October 2018. The proceeds of the term loan were used to repay the company's existing $215 million term loan and for other general corporate purposes.