It's been a little more than a month since the data-brokering industry was roiled by news of sophisticated scams that stole consumers' private information from info-collators ChoicePoint
But trouble begets opportunity, and two companies now appear to be trying to take advantage of the climate of fear prevailing among investors in the data industry. infoUSA
No sooner had infoUSA re-upped its own tender offer for Digital Impact, than Digital Impact's board re-rejected it. Acxiom then swooped in and nearly doubled infoUSA's bid. While the latter had only extended its original offer, bidding $2 per share, Acxiom won the battle easily by offering $3.50 per share -- a considerable premium to the $2.29 that those shares were fetching at close of business on Thursday.
In total, and subject to approval by Digital Impact's shareholders, Acxiom will pay $129 million to acquire 36.9 million shares. At that price, Acxiom's anteing up nearly twice its own price-to-sales ratio to buy a company with negative free cash flow and stagnant revenues. So this looks like a very good deal for Digital Impact's shareholders (for Acxiom's shareholders, maybe not so much). As for infoUSA, although a loser in the competition to control Digital Impact, at least it gets to walk away with a small consolation prize. Because infoUSA already owns 1.6 million shares of Digital Impact, it will benefit from Acxiom's offer to the tune of $5.6 million.
For more Foolish news on the data industry's recent woes, read:
Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in any of the companies mentioned in this article.