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DM spending on the upswing

Marketers are projected to spend $186 billion this year on all U.S. direct response marketing media tracked by the Direct Marketing Association, a 9% increase over last year. U.S. marketers are expected to generate a total of $2.2 trillion in sales this year, a 10% increase over last year. Total sales in 1995 were $1.1 trillion.

DM employment picture brightens

Direct marketing industry hiring is on the way up, according to Bernhart Associates Executive Search's fourth-quarter employment report. Sixty percent of companies surveyed said they plan to hire before the end of the year, while only 11% said they have a hiring freeze in place. "Both of these indicators are showing significant improvement over the third quarter and are at their best levels since the survey began in 2001," said Bernhart President Jerry Bernhart.

Alliance Data to buy Epsilon

Alliance Data Systems has agreed to acquire Epsilon Data Management, an integrated direct marketing and loyalty marketing company, for about $300 million. Epsilon is part of Relizon Holdings, a portfolio company of the Carlyle Group. That sale price is about 2.5 times Epsilon's expected revenues. Alliance Data said the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Mike Iaccarino, president-CEO of Epsilon, will remain with the company.

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