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Acxiom profit up 34% in year

Earnings per share up to 21 cents; quarterly revenue dips

By Jessica Seaman

This article was published October 26, 2012 at 1:05 a.m.

— Acxiom Corp. generated a profit of $16.5 million in its fiscal 2013 second quarter, a 34.3 percent increase from last year’s $12.3 million net income, the company said Thursday.

The Little Rock-based company’s earnings per share also rose from 15 cents in last year’s second quarter to 21 cents, beating analysts’ predictions of 15 cents per share.

Revenue fell 3 percent from about $286 million to $277 million for the period that ended Sept. 30.

“We are encouraged by several aspects of our first-half performance and direction,” Scott Howe, chief executive officer for Acxiom said in a prepared statement. “A leading indicator of our future success is the performance of our customers. ... While we have much to do, particularly as it relates to our topline growth, we are building success stories and are excited about what’s ahead for our company.”

Acxiom’s main business is data-mining, which it uses to help customers, such as retailers, target customers in their marketing campaigns.

The company said its second-quarter revenue for its marketing and data services was $194 million, down from $196 million in the same period last year.

Shares of Acxiom rose 1 cent to close Thursday at $16.35 on the Nasdaq stock exchange. Before the close, share prices ranged from $16.18 to $16.62. The earnings report was released after the market closed.

The company said it bought back 800,000 shares for $14 million during the quarter. Since August 2011, Acxiom has repurchased 9 million shares, or about 11 percent of outstanding common stock for $115 million.

Acxiom’s board of directors also voted to expand its membership from nine to 10 directors, according to the release. The board appointed business consultant Richard Fox to fill the new seat.

During the company’s first quarter, which ended June 30, Acxiom reported earnings per share of 17 cents. In that same quarter, Acxiom’s revenue fell 2 percent to $271.7 million.

The company’s net earnings rose by 21 percent, from about $11 million to $13.3 million in the first quarter.

The release of Acxiom’s earnings report comes after U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, DW.Va., opened an investigation into nine data brokers, including Acxiom, earlier this month.

Rockefeller said he is concerned about the data-mining industry because consumers are conducting more of their daily business online, and more personal and financial information about them is available.

The nine companies being investigated were asked to provide the Senate with details about their data-collection activity since Jan. 1, 2009.

Business, Pages 29 on 10/26/2012

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