Mosaic Group in U.S. Venture

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Mosaic Group, a marketing, training and e-commerce firm, last month launched a venture with Chicago-based Information Resources Inc. to provide field data collection, auditing and merchandising services.

Mosaic InfoForce is expected to begin operations next month with Mosaic, the 51 percent owner, taking over Information Resources' 2,400-strong field organization and manage it on an outsourced basis.

Part of the deal calls for a 10-year contract worth C$50 million a year for 10 years to Mosaic, a company that went public in 1995 and has seen revenue grow a cumulative 85 percent since then. Revenues for 1998 were C$400 million, and it expects to do C$600 million, or US$400 million, this year.

"Our intention is to make the field force more productive and the infrastructure more efficient," said Walter Strothers, Mosaic's director of financial reporting. "We want to get more from what is there."

The problem with a work force that checks the flow and distribution of goods on supermarket shelves is underemployment. "They work 10 hours a week," Strothers said, "and could be doing much more.

"That's where we come in. Let me give you a comparable example: We have a deal with Prudential Insurance in the U.K. which has a requirement that insurers collect cash from policy holder doors who have requested that method of payment. That's 2 million households nationwide.

"Prudential had 1,200 people going door to door collecting cash, a very expensive way of doing that. So we went to a group of insurance companies and suggested we collect for all of them. Bundling would cut costs."

Both Mosaic and Information Resources have a strong international orientation. Mosaic makes 50 percent of its revenue in Europe and 25 percent each in Canada and the United States. Information Resources has revenues of $500 million and offices in more than 40 countries.
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