Meredith Builds Agency Unit as Home for Further Acquisitions

Media Company 'Hungry' to Buy More Agencies, New Group Leader Says

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Meredith is creating an Emerging Markets Group within its now-sizeable marketing services arm to house New Media Strategies, its social media agency, and The Hyperfactory, its mobile agency. But those shops are just the beginning: Meredith is making it clear it has the appetite for more.

"Meredith is really hungry to continue to grow through acquisitions," said Pete Snyder, CEO of New Media Strategies. "So we're creating a house for that activity."

Meredith, which owns magazines such as Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal as well as 12 local TV stations, has already been busy acquiring agencies in a bid to enhance its offerings to marketers beyond ad pages and commercial time. Since 2006, Meredith has acquired interactive shops O' Grady Meyers and Genex; health-care marketing agency Big Communications; database and analytics shop Directive; and New Media Strategies and Hyperfactory. Other magazine publishers haven't matched Meredith's activity, although Hearst made a big move when it bought the digital agency iCrossing last summer.

Mr. Snyder has been named president of Meredith's new group, reporting to Martin Reidy, president of the publisher's agency umbrella, Meredith Integrated Marketing. Mr. Snyder, who will also continue as CEO of New Media Strategies, will work with Mr. Reidy and Meredith Chief Development Officer John Zieser to expand Meredith's agency services.

"We're going to be really hot on the acquisition trail for the best and the brightest in mobile, social or whatever else emerges in digital," Mr. Snyder said.

The Emerging Markets Group is the first sign that Meredith is trying to structure its stable of six agencies, which significantly augmented the custom publishing services in the company's integrated marketing unit. The custom publishing operation had $70 million in revenue before the agency acquisitions; last year the expanded Meredith Integrated Marketing had $176 million in U.S. revenue.

"Social media and mobile marketing are the fastest-growing marketing channels within the red-hot digital space and are becoming increasingly intertwined as the digital world evolves," Mr. Reidy said in a statement.

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