InfoUSA Buys Digital Connexxions to Strengthen Yesmail Unit

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Database giant infoUSA Inc. bought Digital Connexxions, a Canadian e-mail marketing services company with mostly U.S. publishing clients like Ziff-Davis Publishing, Prism Business Media, Conde Nast Publications and BMG.

The deal, designed to help infoUSA's Yesmail e-mail unit, comes within three months of the company's acquisition of list firm Mokrynskidirect and the planned purchase of Opinion Research. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"It obviously gives us enhanced market share, but the primary driver is enhanced technology," said Ed Mallin, president of infoUSA's Donnelley Group in New York.

Digital Connexxions is based in Oakville, a suburb of Toronto. Its operations will soon be merged with Yesmail's, which operates out of its San Carlos, CA, headquarters and Portland, OR. The Digital Connexxions staff will retain their jobs, although the fate of firm's name is undecided.

Yesmail offers e-mail marketing and technology services to marketers like Hewlett-Packard Co., Nintendo, Nike and Nine West. Digital Connexxions will complement with tools for building targeting models, tracking return on investment and personalization.

"One of the things that Digital Connexxions will bring is strong technology that will allow us to broaden our presence in small- to midsized businesses," Mr. Mallin said.

E-mail clicks with database

The Digital Connexxions sale is yet another example of the attraction of e-mail service firms to database marketing companies.

For example, Alterian bought Dynamics Direct in May and Datran Media snapped up Skylist in June. Database peers like Merkle, Acxiom, Epsilon, Experian, J.L. Halsey and Harte-Hanks as well as infoUSA also bolstered their communications offerings with the purchase of e-mail services firms.

InfoUSA's recent acquisition spree kicked off in earnest last November when it bought Millard Group Inc., a Peterborough, NH, with major publishing and catalog clients.

Run by chairman/CEO Vin Gupta, InfoUSA, Omaha, also owns Walter Karl and Edith Roman, both big players in list brokerage and management.

"They have a very strong presence in the publishing arena," Mr. Mallin said of Digital Connexxions, "and that's a nice fit with our various sister companies - Walter Karl, Edith Roman and Millard - all who have a strong presence in the publishing space. The interactive presence is added value."

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