LIST FIRMS: Direct Media goes it alone

Last July, Greenwich, CT-based Direct Media Inc. (DMI) threatened to break away from parent company Acxiom and merge with rival list firm American List Counsel. It didn’t follow through on the threat. But in early February, DMI announced that it would buy itself back from Conway, AR-based Acxiom, less than three years after being sold.

Acxiom will retain 49% of DMI and will continue to work with DMI to develop database products. Max Bartko, DMI’s group president of sales and marketing, describes the separation as amicable.

Bartko says DMI lost few clients while under Acxiom’s control and maintained growth during the period. He adds, though, that DMI could not sustain the 20% growth rate that Acxiom wanted. The price of the buyback was undisclosed, but the agreement allows DMI to buy the remaining 49% of the company from Acxiom in the future.

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