The buyout's a bust for Acxiom. The two private equity firms which agreed to buy the data company in May, backed out today. They’re paying Acxiom $65 million for terminating the agreement. It’s a double whammy. Acxiom’s Chief Executive Charles Morgan also announced that he is leaving the company.
"They made the announcement and then the domino effect. No instant reaction to any of this," said Acxiom employee Mary Steves.
Steves says she doesn't know what to make of it, and analysts are attempting to forecast what could happen next.
"It may be a sign of Acxiom's financial health which has been ailing recently," said Lance Turner with Arkansas Business.
Turner points out how Acxiom just laid off 266 employees after two back to back bad quarters.
In recent months, the company's value has dropped more than 40-percent. Turner said, "Per share purchase for this deal was supposed to be $27.10 per share. As of this morning, Acxoim's stock was trading at about $15 per share."
Employees have a lot to lose. Many of them have benefits dependant on the company's performance.
"Acxiom stock is tied up in that, so you lost money this morning," said Turner.
To top it all off, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Acxiom's in for another bad quarter, worse than the first. Acxiom executives countered that. They expect improved revenue. There are no immediate plans to sell. Acxiom's departing chairman and CEO Charles Morgan says the company will continue on as a publicly traded firm.
"He's been there for 35 years. This company has been his vision. That's another thing to look for, other executive departures," said Turner.
Morgan says he won't retire until his successor is chosen.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)