Gage Marketing Support Services Merges With AHL

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AHL Services Inc., Atlanta, recently acquired a majority stake in the marketing support services division of Gage Marketing Group LLC, Minneapolis.

The $81.1 million transaction included $54.1 million in cash, $17 million in AHL common stock and $10 million in convertible subordinated debt.

The marketing support services division of Gage Marketing Group includes consumer fulfillment, teleservices, trade-support services, automotive marketing services and a lettershop. The division will operate under the name Gage Marketing Support Services as a division of AHL Services. E.C. "Skip" Gage, founder and CEO of Gage Marketing Group, will continue to manage the businesses under a long-term consulting agreement and also will become a member of AHL's board.

AHL is predominantly involved in contract staffing but also acquired another fulfillment business, RightSide Up, within the past year. The majority of AHL's staffing business involves providing personnel for positions such as airport security and cargo handlers for the aviation industry. However, it also provides personnel for fulfillment and call-center positions that are compatible with the businesses in Gage Marketing Support Services.

"The combination of Gage and our existing fulfillment business, RightSide Up, creates a $100 million platform for growth in AHL's marketing execution support services," said Ed Mellet, vice chairman and co-CEO of AHL. "Gage fits perfectly with our strategy of providing high-quality business services and excellent customer service to our Global 500 client base."

For Gage Marketing Group, the partnership will let the marketing services operations grow more quickly and will allow the company to focus more of its own efforts on building the other side of its business, which includes promotion and direct marketing agencies, an in-store point of purchase marketing agency and a database marketing agency. Gage Marketing Group will maintain an alliance with the marketing support services now part of AHL.

"Being privately held, we felt we would soon find our growth constrained by our ability to raise capital," Gage said. "I have been looking for a way to generate growth capital for both our marketing fulfillment business and for our marketing agency business for some time now. This partnership on the fulfillment business with AHL allows us to grow this business at a faster rate and enables us to devote more capital to our marketing agency business."

The marketing support services division had generated about $80 million of the $150 million in revenues of Gage Marketing Group. AHL's revenues reportedly were $276 million in 1997.

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