NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Direct marketer Acxiom Corp. said Wednesday it has agreed to buy rival May & Speh Inc. for $625 million in stock.
Conway, Ark.-based Acxiom said it will issue .80 share of its stock for every share of May & Speh, which values Downers Grove, Ill.-based May & Speh at $17.45 a share.
May & Speh has more than 34.5 million shares outstanding, including options and convertible bonds.
Acxiom shares (ACXM) were off 1-3/4 at 20-1/16 and May & Speh shares (SPEH) fell 1-3/8 to 15-5/8 in early trading Wednesday.
"Acxiom and May & Speh are complementary data management businesses with similar vision, strategic focus and business culture," said Charles D. Morgan, Acxiom's chairman.
The deal is expected to be tax-free to shareholders and accounted for as a pooling of interests, the companies said. And it will be neutral or contribute slightly to earnings in fiscal 1999, they said.
"We are very excited about the synergy of our services," said Peter I. Mason, May & Speh's chairman, CEO and president.
The boards of both companies have approved the deal.
The merger, which is expected to be completed by August, creates a database marketing services company with revenues of about $700 million a year and more than 4,000 employees, the companies said.
Sears Roebuck & Co. has been a May & Speh customer for more than 50 years, and with Capital One Bank accounts for about 30 percent of the marketing firm's revenues.