UPDATE: DMA to Acquire Brazilian DM Institute

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NEW ORLEANS - On Monday night the DMA signed a letter of intent to

partner with IDBM, the Brazilian Institute for Database Marketing. In

effect, the DMA will run the Brazilian organization.

Signing ceremonies were held at the DMA International Council's

reception for foreign delegates and American members. H. Robert

Wientzen, CEO of the US DMA and Rubens Stephan, iDBM president, did the


The agreement had semantic problems involving the word

"acquisition," which has a different legal meaning in Portuguese than it

does in English. But the DMA is acquiring the Brazilian group and will

run it.

"Practically," Wientzen said, "we see this as a partnership with

the 110 companies who are members of the iDBM family." Legally the

Brazilian company will shrink until it is dissolved and the DMA takes

over its name and assets.

They include membership lists, telephone lines - "that's a very

unimportant asset down there," Wientzen said - employees, computers,

equipment and employees.

The DMA will then form a legal entity in Brazil.

iDBM has bustling conference business - their last event drew 500

attendees, big by Brazilian standards - which the DMA clearly covets.

Wientzen said he would put more money and resources into developing the


iDBM plays a large educational role in Brazilian direct marketing and

that is one sector the US DMA is anxious to develop. "We are very

interested in expanding DM education wherever we can help doing so."

No direct exchange of money is involved in the deal, Stephan said,

adding, "this is an opportunity for us to do things that we could not do

ourselves. The DMA will give us money and people to help us keep iDBM


He added that the DMA planned to put in a managing director, and would

probably pick a Brazilian for the job. The current board will remain as


The announcement caught the other two Brazilian DM associations - the

DMA and the Telemarketing group - unawares. They did not learn of the

deal until Sunday night.

Sources said the Brazilians were miffed at what they perceived as a

slight and griped openly at a lavish and exclusive party they threw on

Monday night in the house where Tennessee Williams wrote "Streetcar

Named Desire."

Europeans weren't pleased either. They have long suspected the DMA's

"imperialist" ambitions. Several of them said they would oppose any

American aggrandizement and the implicit poaching of their membership.

Wientzen denied the charges and the suspicion. "We are interested in

strong DMAs around the world. We don't intend to replace them. We are

not predatory. We need them to lobby their governments to keep direct

marketing free.

"We are very much interested in international education and we don't see

that interest as being competitive." And he said the move into education

would not shrink the role of the International Federation of Direct

Marketing Associations (IFDMA).

"They're a policy making group. We want to help grow organizations and

give them stronger capabilities, not diminish them."

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