TMI Makes First European Acquisition, Buys UK DM Firm

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PHOENIX, AZ - Targetbase Marketing International (TMI) last

month completed acquisition of Intelligent Database Marketing (IDM), a UK database marketing company, in a first step towards establishing a Europe-wide presence.

IDM, a company announcement said, "provides targeted marketing solutions for companies in the automobile, building supplies and consumer electronics industries.

"The company constructs custom databases and developed structured customer loyalty and customer acquisition programs which can be tailored for multiple clients."

TMI is a year-old subsidiary of Targetbase Marketing, a subsidiary of the M/A/R/C/ Group, formed to help Fortune 500 clients penetrate foreign markets with the help of targeted database marketing.

The company, president Jeff Walters explained, plans to push from the UK into France and Germany and perhaps into the Netherlands. He has been looking at various companies for partnership or acquisition deals for months.

He bought IDM in a two-step deal, first acquiring a 25 percent stake last November and following up his option to purchase the rest in January.

The deal made sense, Walter said, because "of our shared philosophies, shared views of where the market is going, and the ability to capitalize quickly on opportunities.

"Finally, they have a lot of competencies in their UK based centers we feel we can leverage in the UK and on the continent. They manage databases, do analyses, stay in touch with customers by mail and phone and so can serve as our near term hub for entering Europe."

But Walters stressed that this was only a first step in his European acquisition or partnership strategy. "We're looking elsewhere, talking to people on the continent."

He is pleased with the response his central concept -- bundling dm agency and technological competencies around strategic planning ability -- has been receiving.

"A lot of people share our vision and believe we have the tools to execute it, so the interest level among our potential partners is a lot higher than I anticipated."

TMI, Walter explained, divides its activities into three compartments - management of database technology, strategic planning and execution of creative marketing communications programs.

"What we offer is a unique combination of art and science. We seamlessly integrate the science and technology side with the art and creatives of direct marketing."

Full integration of IDM will take about a year, Walters believes. The British company, he noted, has broad experience in automobile direct marketing, a much bigger deal in the UK because of the high incidence of company cars.

"IDM works multiple channels from manufacturers to dealers, the garages that service them, and to the end consumer - the customer."

With company cars - and that's three quarters of some British brands' total output - "you have to sell individuals and corporations who pay for the car, insurance, maintenance, everything.

"Here you're talking transportation solutions, not just cars, and that's a daily issue."

While IDM is a relatively small company with 1996 revenues of $4 million, it expects to boost earnings 35 percent when the 1997 figures are in. "They do very innovative things," Walters said.

"We're looking to pull back some of them to the US, particularly in the auto industry, and see how we can apply them to our clients' needs - old and new."
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