Maxxcom Buys TargetCom To Increase U.S. DM Presence

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Canadian marketing communications group Maxxcom Inc. has gained an additional toehold in the United States through the acquisition of an undisclosed majority interest in TargetCom, a 12-year-old direct marketing agency run by entrepreneurs.

The acquisition is Maxxcom's second investment in the direct marketing industry, following the purchase of Accent Marketing Services. TargetCom, Chicago, is ranked as the nation's third-largest independent direct marketing agency by the Direct Marketing Association.

"We look for entrepreneurs who are very successful on their own but have reached a stage where they need additional resources which they do not have," said Beverley Morden, president/CEO of Maxxcom, Toronto.

TargetCom brings along with it bang!zoom, an Internet-focused agency with bases in London and San Francisco, and etelligence, an online relationship marketing firm operating out of Chicago and St. Louis.

Combined, TargetCom and its two siblings boast clients like Sears, Roebuck & Co., Harley-Davidson Inc., Chicago Tribune, 3Com, Pier 1 Imports Inc., Lucent Technologies, U.S. Robotics and Bally Total Fitness. Total gross income last year was $10 million.

Besides direct marketing, Maxxcom has invested in entrepreneurial firms involved with advertising, sales promotion, public and investor relations, corporate identity and branding, interactive marketing, database management and sales promotion.

Part of Canada's MDC Corp., Maxxcom last year recorded gross income of $300 million. Its U.S. properties include ad agency Margeotes Fertitta & Partners, New York and San Francisco; Source Marketing, Westport, CT; Colle & McVoy, Minneapolis; CyberSight, Portland, OR; and Fletcher Martin Ewing, Atlanta.

Maxxcom's Morden expects collaboration between TargetCom and Accent, Louisville, KY, a direct marketing division that last year had $25 million in gross income.

"We think that direct marketing is one of the most interesting categories [in which to invest]," she said.

Jay Miller, TargetCom's CEO and founder, said the sale to Maxxcom was part of a plan to extend his company's reach.

"In fact, we can think of only two clients that we've brought on board in the last six months who have not asked about PR and other services," Miller said. "Today we do it through alliances. Now we can do it by being partners."

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