UPDATE: Interpublic Merges Columbian, DraftWorldwide

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Consolidation continues apace in the direct marketing agency business with Lowe Lintas Columbian's merger with DraftWorldwide, both agencies owned by the Interpublic Group of Companies.


The merger entails the absorption of Columbian's clients and staff within DraftWorldwide, Chicago, the largest U.S. direct marketing agency with annual billings of $2.7 billion and clients such as Kellogg Co., General Motors Corp., American Express and the U.S. Postal Service.


As a result of the merger, the Lowe Lintas Columbian name will no longer be used.


"By joining up Columbian with DraftWorldwide we felt that we could be in a position to offer the international resources and network of Draft to Columbian's clients," said Barry Linsky, senior vice president of planning and business development at Interpublic, New York.


DraftWorldwide and Columbian form part of an Interpublic ad empire that spans agencies like The Lowe Group, Zentropy Partners, NFO Worldwide, Initiative Media Worldwide, McCann-Erickson WorldGroup, Octagon and Allied Communications Group.


In business since 1960, Columbian last year recorded annualized billings of $40 million, from clients like Sears, Roebuck & Co. and DirecTV. Columbian's clients are amenable to the change in the agency's stand-alone status, according to Interpublic.


The Columbian merger is DraftWorldwide's third move in a month to beef up its services. DraftWorldwide had announced July 12 the purchase of Group III Promotions Inc., an 18-year-old full-service event marketing and promotions agency. The Sloan Group, a New York youth entertainment and technology agency, was added last month.
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