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(April 3, 2001) -- As part of a plan announced in February, Halo Industries, Niles, Ill., is finalizing agreements to sell two of its marketing services shops, brand identity and packaging company LAGA, Northbrook, Ill., and teleservices unit Market USA, Des Plaines, Ill. The buyers were not disclosed. The sale will generate more than $50 million, according to the company's annual report.

Halo's third and most coveted marketing services division -- promotional marketing agency Upshot, Chicago -- will remain with the parent company. "It's highly unlikely that we're going to be selling Upshot in the very near future," said Halo CEO Marc Simon, who added that the company is pleased with the leadership of CEO John Kelley, the shop's co-founder, who returned to helm Upshot in March from his position as CEO of Halo.

Halo put its three marketing services divisions -- which account for only 15% of the company's total business -- on the selling block in order to focus on its core promotional products business, Halo Branded Solutions, in hopes of recovering from a financially troubling 2000. Halo reported net losses of $49.8 million in 2000 on $714.8 million revenue, compared with 1999 net losses of $13.5 million on revenue of $650.4 million.

Mr. Simon, who came on board in February, has also initiated a cost-reduction strategy that includes eliminating discretionary spending to reduce expenses by $10 million to $15 million this year. -- Cara Beardi

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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