Acxiom Lays Off 230

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Acxiom Corp. eliminated 230 positions, or 5.4 percent of its U.S. workforce, as part of a new organizational structure, the Little Rock, AR, company said yesterday.

The company employed nearly 4,300 people in the United States. Acxiom has 5,700 employees worldwide.

The cuts include 130 jobs in Arkansas -- 93 in Conway and 37 in Little Rock. The rest came from the company's Illinois, Arizona and California locations.

The jobs affected range "from technical to marketing to organizational development throughout the strata of the company," Acxiom spokesman Dale Ingram said.

Acxiom said it expects a stronger financial performance in its 2005 fiscal year, which began late last month, based on increased efficiencies and improving business conditions.

"The new technologies we have been implementing over the past few years increase the speed at which we can do our work and reduce the number of people required," company leader Charles D. Morgan said. "AbiliTec and our new Customer Information Infrastructure grid-enabled solutions are dramatically changing our business, and our new functional organization is designed to help us better leverage standard tools, best practices and training. Reducing the size of our workforce was a difficult decision, but it was necessary to leverage our technological advances into more value for our clients."

Acxiom also has announced that its acquisition of the Consodata companies based in England, France and Spain from Turin, Italy-based Seat P.G. for $36.4 million has been completed. This includes Consodata Germany, formerly known as Pan-adress, which is pending approval by German merger authorities and is expected to close by mid-April.

It is the second merger Acxiom completed this year. In January, Acxiom completed its $40 million acquisition of The Claritas Europe group, a Dutch information provider that employs about 550 people and has nine offices in England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Poland.

The additional revenue from Claritas Europe and the Consodata companies bring Acxiom's anticipated annual European revenue to $230 million to $235 million for fiscal 2005, Acxiom said.

In other news, representatives of Acxiom and Accenture denied reports that the Bermuda-based consulting and outsourcing giant is in talks to acquire Acxiom.

An Accenture spokesperson called the speculation "way off the mark," while Ingram said "the rumor has no basis. There are no discussions or plans for Accenture to acquire Acxiom, or to merge or anything of that nature."

Acxiom entered into a long-term partnership with Accenture in December. It lets the two companies join forces to help each other's global clients run their businesses better. The two companies are working with clients on projects ranging from quality diagnostics and deliverable address optimization to turnkey CRM business process operations.

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