Interpublic Group of Cos., New York, acquired M. Gould & Co., an 11-year-old San Francisco direct shop with $30 million in billings. The agency will operate independently of other Interpublic direct shops. Gould provides a variety of relationship, direct and Internet marketing services. Its clients include Lucent Technologies and Charles Schwab & Co.
Direct Media founder Dave Florence bought back 51% of the list management and brokerage company from Acxiom Corp., Little Rock, Ark. "We had reached a point in our relatively small mailing list industry where we had huge market share and we couldn't grow 20% to 25% a year," Mr. Florence said. He added it was apparent soon after Acxiom purchased the Greenwich, Conn., company three years ago that the union "just wasn't going to fit." Direct Media continues to be a customer of Acxiom, a database services company, and has the option to buy back the remaining 49% in seven years. Mr. Florence said he plans to turn over the 51% share to some of Direct Media's 250 employees and let them own and run the business.
Carlson Cos., Minneapolis, will use its Gold Points Rewards program to help launch a new e-commerce business. The new, still-unnamed venture is expected to debut before summer and likely will combine Carlson's numerous brands and offline partners, including those participating in Gold Point Rewards, with a more significant online presence to provide more personalized service to customers.