InfoUSA Buys Millard Group

Nov 07, 2005 8:20 PM  By

In perhaps its most significant acquisition yet in the consumer list marketplace, Omaha, NE-based InfoUSA acquired Peterborough, NH-based Millard Group on Nov. 4.

Millard’s list clients are predominantly consumer catalogs and magazines. In contrast, InfoUSA’s flagship division specializes in compiled databases. The company’s other divisions include generalist list brokerage/management firm Walter Karl, business list provider Edith Roman Associates (which it acquired in June 2004), and e-mail list and solutions provider Yesmail (acquired in March 2003). According to SRDS, the combined lists and programs (such as package inserts) from Walter Karl, Edith Roman, and Millard total 3,292.

The privately held Millard, which also operates insert media group AM/Direct and research group Decision Direct Research, will retain its existing management team with Ben Perez as president and will continue to operate independently. Perez has been president since 1992, having joined Millard in 1984.

InfoUSA chairman/CEO Vin Gupta expects the deal to expand his company’s synergies by enabling Millard to market InfoUSA’s more than 15 databases and sales solutions. As was the case with Walter Karl and Edith Roman, Gupta says, Millard Group will now have access to InfoUSA’s databases without worrying about the license fees and such: “As a part of our family, it allows them use of our technology, our databases, as well as cross-sell opportunities. It gives them more ammunition.”

The publicly traded InfoUSA reported net revenue of $344.9 million last year, up 11% from $311.3 million in 2003. Net income had falled slightly, however, to $17.8 million from $19.7 million.

While InfoUSA continues to be on the lookout for more list firms to purchases, some veterans believe that continued consolidation may ultimately hurt the industry.

“This business is rapidly becoming something other than what it was,” laments Roy Schwedelson, founder/CEO of Boca Raton, FL-based list services firm Worldata. “The innovative quality in the entrepreneurial business is going to be lost in the corporate environment as innovation takes a back seat to quarterly reports.”