Abacus, Harte-Hanks Form Alliance

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Abacus Direct Corp. and Harte-Hanks Direct Marketing yesterday announced the formation of a strategic alliance to share complementary capabilities with their client bases.

Abacus, Westminster, CO, maintains the largest cooperative database in the industry with 1.5 billion transactional records from 1,052 catalog participants and a variety of proprietary data models. Harte-Hanks, New York, constructs databases, handles the production and mailing of direct marketing campaigns and provides teleservices and Internet services.

Harte-Hanks clients are invited to join the Abacus Alliance by submitting their full transactional house databases. By running models on its cooperative database, Abacus can give Harte-Hanks clients highly targeted lists of customers and prospects while Abacus clients can put their lists to work in integrated campaigns run by Harte-Hanks.

Harte-Hanks chief financial officer Jacques Kerrest called the alliance a referral business of mutual clients. "Some of our clients might be able to use some of the data Abacus has and some of their clients could use the services we have," he said.

Paul Imbierowicz, vice president of retail targeting for Abacus, said one of the motivations in forming the alliance was to answer the many client requests for contact with a quality service provider.

Harte-Hanks purchases data from third-party providers for appending and merge-purge functions but owns none itself. Abacus will not surrender or share its data with Harte-Hanks but only with clients that join the Alliance. Harte-Hanks will be able to perform merge-purge and other postal processing on Abacus names submitted by Alliance clients.

Abacus also reported results with revenues and earnings increasing 44 percent for the quarter ended Dec. 31 to $12.5 million and $2.94 million or 29 cents per share, respectively. For the year, both revenue and earnings were up 52 percent to $47 million and $11.4 million or $1.12 per share.

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