Abacus Direct Acquires SmartBase For $4.7 Million

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List brokerage services company Abacus Direct, Broomfield, CO, a division of Doubleclick Inc., said Friday that it has acquired SmartBase from Acxiom Corp., Little Rock, AR, for $4.7 million. SmartBase is a membership database for catalogers and mail-order consumer merchandise marketers.

Abacus and Acxiom began acquisition talks as a result of the strategic partnership entered into by the two companies this past September.

"One of the terms and conditions of that was that in exchange for various business initiatives together, was Acxiom had made a decision to kind of wind down SmartBase," said Chris Dice, president of Abacus Direct.

"We decided why not embrace the clients that SmartBase has. Why not just go ahead and make that officially part of the Abacus Alliance, and they were willing to do a transaction with us, and so we did one," Dice added. "It's really just that simple."

The goal of the acquisition for Abacus is twofold. First, there's significant overlap of the SmartBase database and the Alliance, Abacus' database, according to Dice, who said that Smartbase is "much, much smaller than Abacus," but declined to give the size of the database. Abacus wants to offer its more comprehensive resources -- statistical people, modeling software and technology -- to those overlapping participants, said Dice.

Approximately 15 percent to 20 percent of SmartBase's participants are not currently doing business with Abacus, and the information and research provider hopes to gain access to them.

The two databases will remain separate for the near future, but the long-term goal would be to "embrace those clients using the Abacus technology," said Dice.

Eight of the employees who support SmartBase are located in Greenwich, CT, but Abacus intends to move those employees to its office in New York.

Smartbase will be managed under Abacus, and "we plan to add a ton of employees over the coming months," said Dice.

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