Carat Interactive Buys Freestyle

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Aiming to boost its West Coast presence, Carat Interactive bought Freestyle Interactive, a full-service, 6-year-old interactive agency in San Francisco.


The acquisition makes the San Francisco office Carat's largest in its nationwide network comprising New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and the Boston headquarters. The deal is on a cash and earn-out basis.


Sarah Fay, president of Carat Interactive, said her agency shared a working relationship with Freestyle over the past 2 1/2 years. They even pitched the Visa business together.


"There's good chemistry in terms of culture and people," she said. "They add strength to our creative services offering, and they also add a higher level of technical expertise. They help us play in the Web development space."


The acquisition yields Freestyle accounts like Electronic Arts, Eastman Kodak Co.'s Ofoto.com online service and Showtime Networks. This adds to recent Carat Interactive gains like Hyatt, Placeware, BEA Systems and TiVo.


Freestyle is Carat Interactive's third acquisition in two years. Vizium, an e-mail relationship marketing agency, was bought in December 2001, followed the next month by San Francisco interactive shop Lot21.


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