I-shops consolidate

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Interactive agencies rolled up and spun out as companies took advantage of a booming stock market for Internet plays. Consolidation gave agencies access to more clients, employees, offices and capabilities as competition intensified. For example, computer services provider Whittman-Hart last week agreed to buy USWeb/CKS, the No. 1 i-marketing agency in Ad Age's Interactive 100, in a stock swap. Young & Rubicam unloaded the New York operations of its interactive arm, Brand Dialogue, into Luminant's roll up of additional Web shops, such as Interactive8, New York. Meanwhile, Interpublic Group of Cos. consolidated its store of interactive agencies under the Cambridge, Mass.-based Zentropy Partners umbrella, and MacManus Group handed off Blue Marble, New York, to Novo Interactive, San Francisco. Grey Advertising bought Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Beyond Interactive and Snyder Communications spun out Circle.com as a subsidiary devoted to online marketing. Big interactive shops Agency.com, New York; iXL, Atlanta; and Organic, San Francisco, filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission to take their companies public. Continued consolidation should further pressure smaller independents in 2000.
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