Mokrynskidirect Buy Strengthens infoUSA Catalog Credentials

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The acquisition of Mokrynskidirect now makes database giant infoUSA a formidable force in the catalog list brokerage and management space.

Mokrynskidirect brings with it catalog clients like Tiffany & Co., Federated Department Stores Inc.'s Bloomingdale's, The Home Depot Inc. and Dr. Leonard's. Millard Group, which infoUSA bought earlier this year, has names like J. C. Penney, Lands' End, Nike, Mattel and Orvis.

"Between Mokrynskidirect and Millard Group, you've got the two premier players in the catalog marketplace," said Ed Mallin, president of infoUSA's Donnelley Marketing Group.

The announcement comes two days before a crucial infoUSA annual shareholder meeting. InfoUSA is battling an insurgency from Institutional Investor Services, which has put up its own list of nominees versus the infoUSA board's recommendations.

Mokrynskidirect will be part of Donnelley Marketing, along with other list legends like Edith Roman, Walter Karl and Millard - all acquired by infoUSA in recent years.

The deal calls for Dennis Bissig to stay on as president and continue leading Mokrynskidirect's staff of 110 employees in Hackensack, NJ. Firm founder Don Mokrynski will consult on key clients and assignments after the acquisition.

"We acquire these companies for two primary reasons," Mr. Mallin said. "One, access to blue-chip clients and two, for the talent or the staff we ultimately acquire."

That said, there is no denying that consolidation is a key vehicle for growth in the list business. Which is precisely why Omaha, NE-based infoUSA succeeded in its play for Mokrynskidirect.

"Small operators don't have the economy to scale and this makes it hard for them to be profitable," said Vin Gupta, CEO of infoUSA.

Through acquisitions like these, companies gain access to infoUSA's database and capabilities, giving their customers a sort of "one-stop-shop," Mr. Gupta said.

InfoUSA doesn't plan to change Mokrynskidirect's name. The business will be independently managed under Donnelley Marketing.

"We have a longstanding client list in [traditional] list brokerage and management and in the online marketplace," said Mr. Bissing. "We have hands-on experience in all of this work."

This acquisition also boosts infoUSA's cross-selling opportunities for its databases and products. Mokrynski clients will now have more products and services available to them.

"The ultimate umbrella is to take those client relationships and … offer them a broader scope of services, both direct mail and e-mail," Mr. Mallin said.

Mr. Gupta also said that infoUSA is currently looking at other opportunities for acquisition. He would not give any details, but Mr. Mallin confirmed that line of thinking.

"Part of our strategy is to continue to invest in these businesses, not only in resources but also talent," he said.

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