Willis Stein Takes Majority Interest in Marketing Services Company

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Willis Stein & Partners, Chicago, IL, the private equity firm that yesterday shelled out a whopping $780 million in cash in its agreement to acquire Ziff-Davis, separately made a smaller $205 million investment in Protocol Communications, Boston, MA.

Protocol is an $88 million, one-year-old integrated marketing services company that provides strategic planning, fulfillment, online and offline customer care and teleservices and database marketing capabilities for clients including Casio, IBM, and Honeywell.

Willis Stein, which will acquire a majority interest in Protocol along with minority partners BCI Partners, a Teaneck, NJ-based equity firm and ING Barings' U.S. Merchant Banking Group, London, U.K. which also participated, has built its reputation on publishing, technology, and telecommunications investments.

Protocol president/CEO Steve McLean will remain in place and will retain minor ownership in the company.

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