Information services specialists Acxiom Corp. and Polk Co. have signed a letter of intent for a 10-year processing deal that would bring Acxiom $12 million to $16 million in revenue.

The deal is envisioned as the start of an alliance in which the companies' big consumer data bases would be combined.

Conway, Ark.-based Acxiom is known for processing credit bureau data that card issuers use to solicit new customers. The top nine card issuers subscribe to Acxiom's services, which are also used by the insurance, publishing, and retail industries.

Polk, which is 125 years old, provides direct marketing lists culled from demographic and lifestyle information. The Detroit-based company is best known for compiling statistics for the automotive industry.

The first phase of the deal would focus on transferring Polk's extensive consumer data base to Acxiom's processing center in Arkansas.

"We specialize in computer processing," explained Rodger S. Klein, chief operating officer of Acxiom, "and Polk specializes in the gathering of information."

Art Nolan, a spokesman for Polk added, "We are leveraging their technology, and they are leveraging our data base."

Once Polk's data were managed by Acxiom, the partners would explore joint ventures in marketing, product development, data acquisition, and international sales. They are also to consider entering new markets together.

Combining the companies resources would create the opportunity to generate $1 billion in revenues through the life of the contract, said Mr. Nolan.

Acxiom's revenues were $202 million in the fiscal year that ended in March; Polk's were $340 million.

Mr. Klein said the alliance would help bank card issuers who subscribe to Acxiom's Infobase Household service, which tracks information on 95% of all households in the United States. The data base is used to target new customers.

Polk's consumer data will be merged with Acxiom's, creating a stronger source of information, said Mr. Klein.

The company's largest sources of consumer data are motor vehicle registrations and product registration cards.

Polk also serves a number of other businesses, including travel, publishing, and catalog distribution. It has operations in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and Barbados.

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