by Max Brantley
ACXIOM NEWS RELEASE
Once again ValueAct has issued a news release with some glaring omissions – there is absolutely no mention of Acxiom’s record revenue, record profit and record cash flow, or that Acxiom has enjoyed the best six months in the company’s history, or that all our trend lines are positive.
ValueAct says it intends to offer $25 a share at a “premium,” which does not seem to offer much of a premium given that the average closing price for Acxiom stock since January 1 has been $24.77.
Jeffrey Ubben has been quoted saying that in the right hands Acxiom could be worth $40 a share. We do not disagree, but we strongly believe that our current members of Acxiom’s leadership – through their vision, direction and proven results – are indeed those “right hands.”
Mr. Ubben continues to say he has a plan for Acxiom, yet he has only offered broad statements and generalities. His remarks have been void of detail. He has never discussed how his plans would benefit our clients. He has never discussed how Acxiom would maintain its industry leadership and competitive edge. He has never discussed why he believes some of his ideas – such as spinning off our fast-growing outsourcing business, or converting Acxiom to a private company – could successfully be achieved without very risky disruptions, profit erosion and defection of clients who continually tell us that they depend on Acxiom’s innovation and investments to create long-term value in their own businesses.
ValueAct’s decision to make such an offer today suggests that their ideas are not getting traction in the investment community, so they have to pursue an alternative strategy for fear of losing the proxy vote. The tepid response in the market today also suggests that investors don’t have a lot of confidence in their ideas.