Alloy Buys Student Advantage's OCM Direct Unit

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Youth marketer Alloy Inc., New York, announced yesterday its acquisition of Student Advantage Inc.'s OCM Direct subsidiary, which provides college- or university-endorsed products such as residence hall linens, care packages and diploma frames.


The acquisition, valued at $15.6 million, is expected to complement Alloy's on-campus marketing activities.


"We want to help it sign up more colleges and universities to use as marketing partners," said Alloy's chief financial officer, Sam Gradess. "It has nearly 1,000 [partners]." There is "no stated goal" regarding the number of partners the company wants to add, he said.


"We just want to see that number increase and expand the products they offer," he said. "It's a strong, growing, positive cash flow business with good growth prospects. It further extends our college- and university-based marketing franchise."


Plans include continuing to use the OCM name and keeping it based in Bethesda, MD. It has about 140 employees.


"It's a well-run unit, and at this point we want to see them manage themselves," he said. "They will be reporting to our executive management. There will be efforts to evaluate and create synergies between both college marketing businesses. They have a good team. We're keeping the entire senior management team in place."


Alloy's efforts include running a program called Campus Trial Pak. It is a sampling program conducted on behalf of its major advertising clients that reaches more than 2 million college students yearly when they return to school in the fall.


Alloy has about 700 employees, including 250 at its New York headquarters.


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