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(April 23, 2001) -- Avenue A, the Seattle digital marketing company, is poised to announce today that it is splitting the company into two operating units.

The first unit will retain the Avenue A name and continue to center on what has been the company's core digital-marketing-agency business. The new division, Atlas DMT, will attempt to broaden the company's business model by marketing an updated version of Avenue A's Atlas Digital Marketing Suite to a customer base including traditional and interactive agencies.

"A lot of it is making available what we've refined and invested in and perfected over the last four years [to a broader market]," said Avenue A President-CEO Brian McAndrews. The company talked to agencies, including Bcom3 Group's Starcom, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann, Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, Aegis Group's Carat and WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, before moving ahead with the new unit.

The new unit, which Avenue A says will go up against DoubleClick's product DART for Advertisers, will be headed by Tom Sperry, who has been named president of Atlas. Like many online advertising companies, Avenue A has suffered in the advertising downturn. Though at year's end the company had cash and short-term investments totaling $134 million, its stock is trading below $1. It expects to announce first-quarter earnings Tuesday.

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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