Equifax snaps up Compusearch

Toronto-based market profile specialist Compusearch Micromarketing Data and Systems and its list management sister company Prospects Unlimited are now part of an American credit-reporting giant following a $260-million deal earlier this month. Equifax signed an agreement with R.L. Polk to acquire...

Toronto-based market profile specialist Compusearch Micromarketing Data and Systems and its list management sister company Prospects Unlimited are now part of an American credit-reporting giant following a $260-million deal earlier this month.

Equifax signed an agreement with R.L. Polk to acquire Polk’s consumer information solutions (CIS) group, which includes Compusearch and Prospects Unlimited. The deal is expected to close by the end of April.

‘We are very excited about it,’ says Jan Kestle, president of Compusearch. ‘Equifax is a very large player in the financial information business around the world. This deal won’t have much effect on our day-to-day operations, but it does put us with a group that is extremely large.’

Compusearch provides geodemographic and market analyses for marketing organizations across Canada. Prospects Unlimited manages four major Canadian consumer databases for direct marketers, including the 12-million name TotaList Canada and Prospects Canada, which numbers 7.5 million.

Equifax, which is headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., says it will use the companies’ databases to help its clients conduct more targeted marketing efforts.

In a statement, Equifax president Lee Kennedy said his company is poised to take advantage of Polk’s CIS management team and its presence in the consumer goods manufacturing industry.

One of the anticipated benefits for Equifax is that the deal will allow it to overlap Compusearch’s consumer lifestyle and demographic databases on its credit information database. However, both Equifax and Compusearch made a point of saying that the Equifax consumer credit database will remain separate from the acquired lifestyle and demographic databases.

‘Last fall, we announced that Compusearch’s neighborhood cluster system, PSYTE, has been linked to aggregated credit information from Equifax,’ says Kestle. ‘This product is an example of how Compusearch and Equifax can work together to create information products that benefit our mutual customers, while ensuring that the privacy of Equifax’s consumer database is protected.’

Kraft Heinz beats the street, but reports slight sales slide

The company's Q2 net sales, while down slightly, reveal continued demand for snacks and pre-packaged meals.
Kraft Heinz

Kraft Heinz is reporting earnings of 78 cents a share, beating Wall Street’s estimate of 72 cents a share, thanks to continued demand for snacks and pre-packaged meals. However, the company also reported a net sales decline of 0.5% compared with the same period last year, to $6.6 billion, according to its latest Q2 earnings report, released Tuesday.

The company experienced a favourable 2.3 percentage point impact from currency and a negative 0.7 percentage point impact from its February divestiture of Hormel Foods – including the Planters peanut brand – which closed in the second quarter of 2021.

Its cheese divestiture – which included the sale of its natural cheese division to Lactalis – is expected to close in the second half of 2021, says Kraft Heinz Global CEO Miguel Patricio in this morning’s conference call.

Adjusted EBITDA slumped 5.2% versus the year-ago period to $1.7 billion and increased 6.6% versus the comparable 2019 period. Higher transportation and inflation-related goods costs continue to affect the company’s bottom line.

Kraft Heinz’ organic net sales declined 3.6% in Canada over the last three months compared with a comparable period last year, this as total net sales rose 8.8% year over year. 

However, its overall organic net sales slipped 2.1% compared with 2020 figures. This includes the negative impact stemming from exiting its McCafé licensing agreement. However, this decline was partly offset, Kraft Heinz reports, by “partial recovery in foodservice channels and retail consumption trends.”

“Food service is recovering, and recovering fast,” Patricio stressed in today’s earnings call. He said “the bet to support QSR” early in the pandemic, with individual packets of ketchups and sauces, is paying off.

Channel trends are still normalizing, he warns, and it’s too early to see how at home or away from home, will net out. “We have big ambitions for away from home business,” he said. Consumers continue to evolve how they eat, with Patricio saying that Kraft Heinz is collaborating with a popular DTC brand for its Philadelphia cream cheese.

Accrued marketing costs, the company reports, rose to $968 million from $946 million in December 2020.

“We are investing more in our brands, and better as well, building a much more creative company,” Patricio reported.

Kraft Heinz is also strengthening and diversifying its media presence, he said, driving repeat rates for those discovering and rediscovering the brand. Patricio added that the company is continuing to drive its transformation program forward, modernizing its brands and better connecting with its consumers.