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Last week, Acxiom Corporation (ACXM) announced that it has stepped up its share repurchase plan to $150 million now. This was done with the clear intent of bolstering investor returns. Acxiom’s share repurchase program which started in August 2011, has bought back about 6.1 million shares since then for around $72 million. This accounts for nearly 7% of its total shares outstanding in the market.
The company’s incipient proactive advances towards returning value to investors accrues from its strong cash flow generation ability. Cash flow from operating activities came in at around $229.4 million for the fiscal year 2012 and Acxiom spent around $66 million to repurchase a total of 5.6 million shares during that time.
Looking ahead, management projects its earnings per share (EPS) to be within 55 cents to 65 cents for fiscal 2013. Strong product innovations, investment plans and management restructuring are expected to be the major highlights of the upcoming fiscal year for Acxiom.
However, there are big players prevalent in the industry that the company should always remain wary of. Ominous rivals in this regard include Unisys Corporation (UIS), CoStar Group Inc. (CSGP) and EPAM Systems, Inc. ( ( EPAM - Snapshot Report ) ).
The Zacks Consensus Estimates for the first quarter and fiscal 2013 stand at 10 cents per share and 61 cents per share, respectively. We currently have a long-term recommendation of ‘Neutral’ for the company’s stock. In the short run, we have a Zacks #3 Rank for the stock, which translates into a short-term rating of ‘Hold’.
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