Acxiom Expands Health Unit With Horizon Acquisition

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Acxiom Corp., Conway, AR, added to its healthcare direct marketing business with the acquisition this week of Horizon Systems, Stamford, CT, a pharmaceutical sales and database support firm.

The acquisition is the second since Acxiom formed Acxiom Health in 1997. Horizon specializes in segmentation, data integration and software development within the pharmaceutical industry and conducts direct-to-physician marketing. It generated revenues of $9.1 million last year.

While the 1997 acquisition of Buckley Dement added healthcare fulfillment and professional medical lists, Horizon provides sales applications that Acxiom will attempt to integrate with its database marketing applications.

"Sales and marketing are not working together in many organizations,'' said Ellen Butler, marketing leader for Acxiom Health. "The potential for this union is to take what Acxiom knows about marketing automation and synergize sales and marketing to create a unified effort within an organization.''

Typically, a product is marketed by a pharmaceutical brand manager while a sales force is selling multiple brands, Butler said. Acxiom Health will seek to empower sales forces to share information collected via mobile data systems, such as contact activity with physicians, with the rest of a company's sales and marketing divisions.

Software designed for sales applications contains technology that could also be used for marketing and Acxiom Health plans to develop new products along these lines.

For Horizon, Acxiom provides the database marketing capability to expand its client offerings from direct-to-physician into the growing area of direct-to-consumer marketing.

Financial terms of the cash and stock transaction were not disclosed but it will not result in any layoffs or relocation. Acxiom will continue to evaluate potential partnerships and acquisitions in the healthcare sector.

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