Acxiom Acquires Digital Impact
The deal, expected to close within 30 days upon regulatory approval, was announced less than a week after Digital Impact revealed it was in talks with a number of companies about possible mergers in a March 22 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Digital Impact sends about 1 billion permission-based e-mail marketing messages per quarter for clients such as Hewlett-Packard and The Gap. The company expanded beyond e-mail services with the July 2004 purchase of search marketing firm Marketleap, confirmed Kevin Johnson, senior vice president of products and marketing at Digital Impact.
The acquisition will give Acxiom the larger online marketing presence that it has sought for some time, said Richard Howe, chief marketing officer at Acxiom. "We've been waiting for the right moment to expand into this market, and we feel the timing is perfect," said Howe. "Specifically, our clients are more interested in e-mail marketing, due in part to advancements in e-mail authentication services that will decrease spam."
Acxiom, explained Howe, will form a new unit through the merger of Digital Impact and several of its related holdings, and will be led by Digital Impact CEO William Park.
Acxiom currently provides mostly offline database marketing services, such as providing consumer information for direct mail and telemarketing. Its clients will use Digital Impact's platform to deploy campaigns in numerous channels, including e-mail, Web sites, display ads and search.
In January, Acxiom acquired SmartDM, an integrated direct marketing firm.
Digital Impact's clients will benefit from access to Acxiom's data and expertise, Johnson said. Digital Impact recently added Sun Microsystems and Audible to its client roster, he added.
Digital Impact, based in San Mateo, Calif., will have about $20 million in cash on closing, a company spokeswoman said. Neither she or Johnson would disclose the names of the other companies that expressed interest in Digital Impact.
Earlier this month, infoUSA announced the extension of its offer of $2 per share on March 24. The first offer was set to expire March 23. Previously, on March 7, Digital Impact rebuffed infoUSA's initial hostile takeover attempt. A company statement described infoUSA's offer as "financially inadequate and not in the best interests of Digital Impact's stockholders."