United Stationers Buys CallCenter Services

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United Stationers Inc., Des Plaines, IL, said Monday it acquired CallCenter Services Inc. from Corporate Express, a subsidiary of Dutch business-supply conglomerate Buhrmann Co., in order to bolster its fulfillment services operations.

The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

USI, a distributor of business products to resellers, said the acquired company, which operates two inbound call centers in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and Salisbury, MD, would augment USI's e-Nited Business Solutions division. e-Nited provides distribution, customer care and other services for third-party companies, including e-commerce firms, taking advantage of USI's network of 66 North American distribution centers.

"One of the things we found in that market is that everybody wants a one-stop service shop in terms of customer relationship management and third-party fulfillment," said Kathleen Dvorak, vice president of investor relations at USI. "So this gives us a total solution to the marketplace."

CallCenter Services' call centers, which provided outsourced teleservices for about 30 clients, seat about 1,000 agents and generate about $20 million in annual revenues. The company has about 30 clients, including Saks Fifth Avenue Folio Collections, Crate & Barrel and Extended StayAmerica.

Dvorak said USI already provides some outsourced call center services through a small acquisition it made in 1998, and it operates 10 internal call centers that support its primary operations.

"This is a major expansion for us," Dvorak said.

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