Acxiom Accepts $2.24 Billion Private-Equity Bid

The data-management firm Acxiom said Wednesday it agreed to be acquired by investment firms Silver Lake and ValueAct Capital for $2.25 billion plus the assumption of about $756 million in debt.

The deal comes just months after Acxiom fended off a prior takeover attempt by ValueAct, a hedge fund that holds a 14% stake in the company and is its largest shareholder.

In August, Acxiom settled a looming proxy battle by agreeing to give ValueAct two seats on its board and doing a $300 million share buyback. ValueAct is Acxiom's largest shareholder.

The proposed buyout values Little Rock, Arkansas-based Acxiom at $27.10 a share, a 14% premium to its closing price on Wednesday. Under terms of the deal, the company can solicit other proposals for the next 60 days, the companies said. The deal is expected to close in three to four months.

"We believe this deal will benefit our clients, our associates and our industry," Charles Morgan, Acxiom's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Despite the signed deal, at least one analyst, JPMorgan analyst Frederick Searby said there could be other offers for Acxiom.

In the next 60 days Acxiom will be able to solicit and consider other offers, and it is "highly likely" another private equity firm will make a bid for Acxiom, driving up the stock price, Searby said. He held an "Overweight" rating on Acxiom shares.

"Acxiom remains a very cheap stock," Searby said, adding that a private takeover would benefit the company.

"As a private company Acxiom can better focus on its medium-term objectives," he said. "Acxiom intends to invest more heavily in its business by making additional acquisitions in digital, European services business, and risk."

Deals involving private equity firms have been coming in fast and furious.