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Big deals highlight list industry consolidation

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In an increasingly fragmented media landscape, list companies face demand from clients for services that extend far beyond renting postal lists. As a result, the industry is seeing greater consolidation when companies make acquisitions to expand their capabilities.

Two high-profile deals announced late last month reflect this trend. Data giant infoUSA acquired list manager Direct Media and ALC bought the list management division of MKTG Services.

Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed, but industry watchers estimated the Direct Media deal at about $20 million.

Direct Media provides list brokerage, list management, analytics, database marketing and data processing services.

According to infoUSA, the Direct Media brand name will be kept and all employees will remain with the company.

ALC said it will fold the MKTG business into its own without retaining the MKTG Services name.

Lori Magill-Cook, exec VP of ALC, said the MKTG Services deal was attractive for two reasons. "They have a significant client portfolio that is complementary to our current client base, and they have experienced talent that will be joining us," she said.

Ed Mallin, president of the infoUSA Services Group, cited similar factors behind the Direct Media deal.

"Direct Media has been for 40 years one of the gold standards in our industry," he said. "They are very strong in the b-to-b space, as well as consumer and nonprofit. They also have an alternate media division and an international division.

"There's a tremendous amount of talent here and an enormous client base. They're also diversified in their client base."

Larry May, who retained his title as CEO of Direct Media, said of the deal, "It enables us to step into some areas of the business we're not in now, like data processing, e-commerce and search."

May said the infoUSA deal was the more attractive of a pair of offers Direct Media considered.

Direct Media is the latest in a long line of list companies that infoUSA has acquired in recent years.

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