ADP buys Cobalt

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Automatic Data Processing, Inc. is scooping up digital marketing-company Cobalt in a cash deal for $400 million.

The move is part of ADP’s “five-point strategic growth program” and is expected to close in four to six weeks.

“Cobalt is the leading provider of digital marketing solutions to automotive manufacturers and dealers in North America,” said Gary C. Butler, president and chief executive officer.

“This transaction aligns with ADP Dealer Services’ global layered applications strategy to increase share of wallet beyond its core dealer management system offering.”

ADP says its capital allocation strategy also includes returning excess cash to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010, ADP repurchased about $18.2 million shares for over $765 million, and additionally paid nearly $675 million in dividends to its shareholders.

Nearly 29 million shares remain available for purchase under the current board of directors’ authorization.

As announced previously, ADP is scheduled to report its financial results for fiscal 2010 on Thursday, July 29, 2010.