Northlich to Buy Bridge Agency

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Northlich is in negotiations to buy Bridge Integrated Communications, a full-service interactive agency that handles online marketing initiatives for several Procter & Gamble brands.


The acquisition is part of Northlich's four-year plan to become one of the leading 50 agencies in the United States. Bridge would lose its name under terms of the deal.


"[The] combined agency billings would be about $29 million in revenue, or just under $200 million capitalized," said Derin Denham, director of public relations at Bridge.


Bridge offers Internet strategy consulting, online media buying and planning as well as Web site design, development and maintenance. Clients include P&G, NCR, Thomson Consumer Electronics, Copernus, Lexis-Nexis, MGA Entertainment and Dirt Devil. The agency also has a branch in Cleveland.


Like Bridge, Northlich is based in Cincinnati. Northlich offers services such as brand strategy and new product development, public relations, interactive marketing, direct marketing and advertising to clients in telecommunications, e-business and consumer packaged goods. Northlich also offers public affairs and government services through its Groundswell Group arm in Columbus, OH.


Both agencies share P&G, Cincinnati Bell and Harris Corp. as clients. Northlich also handles direct marketing work for Fidelity Investments, AAA and Bank of America.


In related news, Bridge launched a new healthcare division. Bridge Healthcare will consolidate under one division all agency work for pharmaceutical and healthcare clients.


Cardinal Distribution -- the nation's No. 2 wholesale drug distributor, which is owned by Cardinal Health -- named Bridge Healthcare as its agency of record. Bridge will handle consulting as well as sales and marketing programs. Other new accounts include the Angiogenesis Foundation, The Speaking of Women's Health Foundation and the Alliance for Aging Research.


"Over the last three years, as Bridge's business got diverse, they were picking up a lot more healthcare business and their clients were seeking a more dedicated medical agency," said Richard R. Hendrixson, a former P&G executive who heads Bridge Healthcare as vice president. "The focus of the [unit] is health, beauty and wellness."


Bridge Healthcare will offer services such as interactive, e-mail and direct marketing; print advertising; and professional advocacy programs such as symposiums, video streams and satellite downloads.


"We see a lot of opportunities with the Web, distance learning and e-mail," Hendrixson said.
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