May 17, 2007 / 1:32 AM / 12 years ago

UPDATE 1-Acxiom agrees to $3 bln private equity buyout

(Adds details, background, stock activity, byline; previous NEW YORK)

By Lisa Baertlein

LOS ANGELES, May 16 (Reuters) - Business data provider Acxiom Corp. ACXM.O said on Wednesday it agreed to be acquired by investment firms Silver Lake and ValueAct Capital for $3 billion in cash, including 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 percent 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.

The proposed buyout values Little Rock, Arkansas-based Acxiom at $27.10 per share, a 14 percent 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.

Private equity firms are awash with cash and deals have been coming fast and furious.

The most recent to grab international headlines is Cerberus’ bid to buy an 80.1 percent stake in DaimlerChrysler’s DCXGn.DE struggling Chrysler Group, investing $5 billion in cash in Chrysler’s automotive group and $1.05 billion in its financing unit and paying $1.35 billion to DaimlerChrysler.

Silver Lake and TPG on March 30 closed their $4.5 billion purchase of Sabre Holdings TSG.DE, owner of the Travelocity Web site.

Elsewhere, Dutch consumer electronics group Philips Electronics (PHG.AS) last year sold a majority stake in its semiconductor unit to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Silver Lake Partners, AlpInvest, Bain Capital and Apax Partners.

Shares of Acxiom closed down 9 cents to $23.67 on the Nasdaq. (Additional reporting by Nick Zieminski in New York)

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