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LOWE DIRECT GROWS WITH ACQUISITION OF GELLER;DEAL BRINGS $10 MIL MORE IN BILLINGS TO 30TH LARGEST DIRECT RESPONSE SHOP

By Published on .

Lowe Direct acquired direct marketing agency Lois K. Geller Co. in a deal expected to add $10 million in direct billings.

Lowe Direct, a unit of Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York, currently has $70 million in billings and $10.8 million in revenues from clients including AT&T Capital, Dell Computer Corp., Mercedes-Benz of North America and Xerox Corp. If Geller's full client roster switches to Lowe Direct, its billings would grow by about 15%.

Lowe is now the 30th-largest direct response agency.

Lois Geller, who opened her shop in 1993, will join Lowe as an exec VP-group account director. She will manage AT&T Capital, clients from her former agency that move to Lowe and new business.

Her eight-person agency currently has clients ranging from Time Inc. to the Association of Certified Public Accountants.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

`DEPTH OF SERVICES'

"The main reason we were attracted to Lowe was the depth of services they could offer us," Ms. Geller said. "We had an awful lot of business to service, and felt we weren't delivering all the services we could have."

Said Lowe Direct CEO Bob Lieber, "What Lois represents is [someone who knows] how to handle direct marketing development from the ground up."

The first Geller client expected to move to Lowe Direct is Time Inc.'s Fortune. Lowe Direct has also snagged the nonprofit Consumers Union of U.S., publisher of Consumer Reports, Mr. Lieber said.

INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE

Ms. Geller also brings international experience to Lowe. She was president of Vickers & Benson Direct, Toronto, and has worked with Canadian clients Citibank Visa, Canadian Pacific Hotels, ICG, Tourism Ontario and 3M.

Separately, Mr. Lieber said he expects to see pharmaceutical and high-tech advertisers increase direct marketing efforts this year and next.

Lowe Direct just recruited Ogilvy & Mather Direct's Loreen Babcock to serve as senior VP-group account director for pharmaceuticals. Earlier this summer, Lowe hired Reba Palker, a senior partner-account director at O&M Direct, as senior VP-group account director.

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