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(March 29, 2001) -- Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York, said in a statement today that it is in discussions to establish a strategic alliance between its @tmosphere digital marketing division and Organic Inc. The announcement came only minutes before Organic announced a widely anticipated layoff.

Organic said that it was letting go 300 people, or 35% of its staff.

"We have known and worked with Organic for several years and share significant client relations," Allen Rosenshine, chairman and CEO of BBDO, said in a statement. Both shops handle DaimlerChrysler, British Telecom, General Electric, GPU and Charles Schwab.

DaimlerChrysler is Organic's largest client, kicking in $11.4 million, or 30.6%, of the i-shop's revenue for the quarter ended Sept. 30, and $23.6 million, or 22.8%, of revenue for the first nine months of 2000.

Shares of Organic closed today 62 cents, from a 52-week high of $24.38. Advertising Age estimates that Omnicom currently holds a 17.3% stake in Organic worth $9.54 million based on today's closing price. -- Catharine P. Taylor

Copyright March 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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