GREY, SNYDER SIGN UP WITH BUYOUT BRIGADE: MARKETDATA, BROADWELL AMONG LATEST TO BE ACQUIRED

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The acquisition binge among direct marketing agencies continued unabated in July with Grey Advertising and Snyder Communications entering the fray.

Grey Direct, New York, last week acquired MarketData Solutions. Earlier, Brann Worldwide, the direct marketing operation of Bethesda, Md.-based Snyder, snapped up the Broadwell Marketing Group, Dallas.

Grey Direct, with 1998 billings topping $765 million and 32 offices worldwide, will combine its existing Grey Database Strategies operation with MarketData Solutions to create a global database marketing company under the MarketData Solutions brand. The new company will operate as an independent brand of Grey Direct. Ken Lomasney, 45, current president-worldwide of MarketData Solutions, will retain that title with the new company.

EYE ON RELATIONSHIP PROGRAMS

MarketData Solutions will have $25 million in worldwide billings and offices in five countries. The new company will focus its database marketing expertise on clients' customer relationship programs.

With the acquisition, Grey Direct brings all its "database marketing assets under one roof to better serve current client needs and anticipate the emerging globalization of relationship marketing for our multinational clients," said George Wiedemann, chairman-CEO of the direct unit of Grey Advertising.

As one operation, "we can deliver database services across markets according to uniform standards," Mr. Wiedemann added. He stressed the importance of such uniformity, saying, "I think [combining companies in this way] will be an increasing global trend -- we want to be ahead of it . . . technology today knows no borders."

RENAMED BRANN FORBES

At Snyder Communications' Brann Worldwide, Broadwell Marketing Group will be renamed Brann Forbes, taking the name of the acquired agency's primary business unit. Company executives would not reveal details of the deal.

The newly acquired agency consists of the Forbes Group, Tracer Systems and Edge Systems, all employing specialized direct marketing capabilities for retail and foodservice companies. The Forbes Group specializes in direct response marketing programs and local sales promotions.

Other direct marketing agencies that have been hot on the acquisition trail this year include FCB Direct, New York, with two purchases in the first half of 1999 alone: CM Partners, Rolling Meadows, Ill., in January and Hacker Group, Seattle, in May.

Draft Worldwide, Chicago, has made several international acquisitions this year including agencies in Belgium, Canada, France, U.K. and, most recently, Hong

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