Acxiom Expands Geographic Reach with Acquisition of Claritas Europe

LONDON & LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Dec. 8, 2003— Acxiom(R) Corporation (Nasdaq: ACXM) today announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire the Claritas Europe group of companies from VNU N.V., a global information and media company based in Haarlem, The Netherlands.

"This is a landmark day for Acxiom," said Acxiom Company Leader Charles D. Morgan. "We are very excited about this opportunity to combine Acxiom's superior data integration and solutions capabilities with Claritas's premier data assets and broader presence in Europe." As a result, Morgan said, Acxiom will be able to help companies doing business in Europe improve their marketing effectiveness and prospecting results in ways previously not possible.

"I am also pleased to welcome many talented new associates to Acxiom," Morgan added. "People at Acxiom - with their technical know-how and commitment to our clients' success - are our No. 1 asset and our competitive difference, and we look forward to bringing these new associates onto the team."

Acxiom will pay 33.5 million euros (approximately $40 million) in cash for Claritas Europe's operations. Acxiom expects the transaction to be slightly dilutive for the balance of fiscal 2004 and to be accretive for fiscal 2005. The transaction is expected to close within 30 days. The anticipated revenue from the companies acquired will be approximately 83 million euros ($100 million) for the 12 months ending December 31, 2003, which will approximately triple Acxiom's annual European revenue. The transaction is pending approval from the appropriate work councils.

Claritas products will be re-branded with the Acxiom name. Very much like Acxiom's InfoBase(R) products in the U.S., Claritas Europe's products provide the largest source of consumer lifestyle and behavioral information for effective marketing across Europe.

Claritas Europe clients are among some of the world's most successful companies in the financial services, automotive, retail, consumer durables, mail order, publishing, telecommunications, utilities, and travel and leisure industries. (Claritas Europe is operated independently from Claritas, Inc., a separate VNU subsidiary that operates in the U.S. Claritas, Inc. is not involved in this transaction.)

The Claritas Europe data acquisition and sales offices being purchased by Acxiom are in Paris; Frankfurt; Warsaw; Madrid; Lisbon; Teddington, England; and Leiderdorp, The Netherlands. Claritas services operations include Altwood Systems in Kent, England; and BPK Group in Almere and Nieuwegein, The Netherlands. Currently, Acxiom European operations are in London, Leeds and Sunderland, England, as well as Paris.

"These expanded operations will allow Acxiom to provide a full complement of services for the Pan-European market," Morgan said. These services fully leverage Acxiom's customer information infrastructure, including InfoBase data content, superior AbiliTec(R)-driven data integration capabilities, and the expansive data assets of the new markets.

While the acquisition gives Acxiom a much broader capability to provide data and services for companies doing business in Europe, Morgan said it will also be welcome news to many U.S.-based companies who are actively expanding their businesses into Europe. Acxiom's U.K. office has recently signed significant agreements with a number of leading companies already served by Acxiom in the U.S.

Morgan also announced a strong European leadership team that combines decades of experience in client services, technology and business development from multiple markets. Kevin Zaffaroni, who has served as an Acxiom group leader for financial services clients since 1997, will head up the new Acxiom-Europe organization. Zaffaroni, who previously served as an executive at IBM, brings more than 25 years of expertise in the information technology industry.

Cindy Truyens, who has been with Acxiom since 2000 and serving as managing director of Acxiom (U.K.) Limited and director of Acxiom France, will now lead the company's expanded business in the U.K. Auke Jan van den Hout, now managing director for Claritas Europe Database Marketing Division, will lead the Northern European group of the new organization. Thierry Asmar, now managing director of Claritas France, will lead the Southern European group.

Bruce Carroll, Acxiom's strategic development leader and a senior executive at the company the past four years, will also be directly involved in integrating the products of Acxiom and the acquired companies. He has more than 30 years' experience in building successful micromarketing and database companies in the U.S., Europe and Canada. He was one of the founding partners and President/CEO of Claritas in the U.S. After the acquisition of Claritas by VNU in 1990, Carroll became President/CEO of Computerized Marketing Technologies in London. One of the largest data acquisition and direct marketing companies in Europe, CMT was later acquired by VNU to become the largest and core operation of Claritas Europe.

Wally Anderson will serve as chief technology leader for Acxiom Europe. Anderson joined Acxiom in 1998 and has had a key role in developing AbiliTec and Acxiom's grid-based solutions architecture. Prior to joining Acxiom, he was the vice president for technology and communications for Wal-Mart Stores, and he had a long career with IBM in many marketing and technology positions.

Acxiom will hold a conference call at 10 a.m. (CST) today to discuss this information further. Interested parties are invited to listen to the call, which will be broadcast via the Internet at

About Acxiom

Acxiom Corporation (Nasdaq: ACXM) integrates data, services and technology to create and deliver customer and information management solutions for many of the largest, most respected companies in the world. The core components of Acxiom's innovative solutions are Customer Data Integration (CDI) technology, data, database services, IT outsourcing, consulting and analytics, and privacy leadership. Founded in 1969, Acxiom is headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, with locations throughout the United States, and in the United Kingdom, France, Australia and Japan. For more information, visit

Acxiom, AbiliTec and InfoBase are registered trademarks of Acxiom Corporation.

This release and today's conference call contain forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially; such statements include but are not necessarily limited to the following: 1) that the transactions are expected to be slightly dilutive for the balance of fiscal 2004 and to be accretive for fiscal 2005; 2) that the anticipated revenue from the companies acquired is estimated to be approximately 83 million euros or $ 100 million for the 12 months ending December 31, 2003; 3) that the transaction will be approved by the necessary regulatory authorities and will close within the expected timeframe; and 4) that the acquired companies will be successfully integrated into Acxiom's existing business. The following are important factors, among others, that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements: The possibility that certain contracts may not be closed or closed within the anticipated time frames; the possibility that certain contracts may not generate the anticipated revenue or profitability; the possibility that economic or other conditions might lead to a reduction in demand for the Company's products and services; the possibility that the current economic slowdown may worsen and/or persist for an unpredictable period of time; the possibility that economic conditions will not be as expected; the possibility that significant customers may experience extreme, severe economic difficulty; the possibility that the fair value of certain assets of the Company may not be equal to the carrying value of those assets now or in future time periods; the possibility that sales cycles may lengthen; the continued ability to attract and retain qualified technical and leadership associates and the possible loss of associates to other organizations; the ability to properly motivate the sales force and other associates of the Company; the ability to achieve cost reductions and avoid unanticipated costs; the continued availability of credit upon satisfactory terms and conditions; the introduction of competent, competitive products, technologies or services by other companies; potential pricing pressure due to market conditions and/or competitive products and services; changes in consumer or business information industries and markets; the Company's ability to protect proprietary information and technology or to obtain necessary licenses on commercially reasonable terms; the difficulties encountered when entering new markets or industries; changes in the legislative, accounting, regulatory and consumer environments affecting the Company's business including but not limited to litigation, legislation, regulations and customs relating to the Company's ability to collect, manage, aggregate and use data; data suppliers might withdraw data from the Company, leading to the Company's inability to provide certain products and services; short-term contracts affect the predictability of the Company's revenues; the possibility that the amount of ad hoc, volume based and project work will not be as expected; the potential loss of data center capacity or interruption of telecommunication links or power sources; postal rate increases that could lead to reduced volumes of business; customers that may cancel or modify their agreements with the Company; the potential disruption of the services of the United States Postal Service, their global counterparts and other delivery systems; the successful integration of any acquired businesses; and other competitive factors. With respect to the providing of products or services in Europt and elsewhere outside the Company's primary base of operations in the U.S., all of the above factors and the difficulty of doing business in numerous sovereign jurisdictions due to differences in culture, laws and regulations. Other factors are detailed from time to time in the Company's periodic reports and registration statements filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Acxiom believes that it has the product and technology offerings, facilities, associates and competitive and financial resources for continued business success, but future revenues, costs, margins and profits are all influenced by a number of factors, including those discussed above, all of which are inherently difficult to forecast. Acxiom undertakes no obligation to update the information contained in this press release, the conference call, or any other forward-looking statement.

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