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‘Zillionaire’ Screed Has Arkansas Connection

1 min read

An open letter that Nick Hanauer wrote to “My Fellow Zillionaires” was getting a lot of attention in Politico a couple of weeks ago, especially from political liberals delighted to see a rich guy making a self-serving case for higher minimum wage and a healthier middle class.

(The headline: “The Pitchforks Are Coming … For Us Plutocrats.”)

Hanauer, who acknowledged that even his fellow “.01%ers” probably don’t know his name, was the founder of an Internet advertising company called aQuantive, which was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for almost $6.4 billion.

If aQuantive sounds vaguely familiar, it might be because there is (as always) an Arkansas connection there. Scott Howe, CEO of Acxiom Corp. for the past three years, was an aQuantive executive who moved to Microsoft with the sale. He left Microsoft in 2010 and took the stop spot at Acxiom the next year.

And a year after that, in July 2012, Microsoft announced that it would write off $6.2 billion of its investment in aQuantive. While it may be no reflection on Hanauer’s politics, the deal that made him a zillionaire clearly didn’t turn out to be a good buy for Microsoft investors.

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