Epsilon closes its acquisition of Aspen Marketing Services

Marketing services company Epsilon completed its $345 million acquisition of Aspen Marketing Services June 1. Epsilon, owned by Alliance Data Systems, will combine Aspen with its existing creative services arm [email protected] and its strategic and analytic consulting group under the Aspen name, adding about 750 employees and 11 offices.

Patrick O’Rahilly, president and CEO of Aspen Marketing Services, will lead the newly combined units. Former [email protected] president Terry Young left the agency when the merger was announced in April.

Alliance opted to merge the assets under the Aspen brand because of its “significant brand equity,” said Shelley Whiddon, director of external communications at Alliance. The company plans to retain all Aspen employees, she said.

“Aspen is very well known for its digital and direct marketing services and advanced analytics,” she said. “They have really carved a niche for experimental marketing, so bringing that to bear along with new verticals, such as automotive, and significantly increasing Epsilon’s footprint in telecoms, CPG and retail were appealing.”

Epsilon will continue to have three divisions: marketing technology, Epsilon Targeting, and its newly combined agency business that joins [email protected], its strategic and analytics consulting service and Aspen, said Bryan Kennedy, president and CEO of Epsilon.

“The combined assets of Aspen and Epsilon will deepen the creative, digital, social, analytics and production-based capabilities we provide currently, and add new competencies in consumer promotion, experiential marketing and multi-cultural marketing,” he said via email.

Alliance Data Systems said the acquisition will strengthen the company’s offerings in the automotive, financial services, telecom and consumer-packaged goods sectors. Aspen’s clients include Sears Holdings Corp., ConAgra Foods, Ford Motor Co., McDonald’s, Motorola, AT&T and Discover Bank.

Alliance Data Systems’ first-quarter 2011 earnings beat analysts’ expectations, with revenue increasing 12% year-over-year to $740 million. Expectations had been tempered by a security breach at Epsilon in early April that exposed names and email information of several clients’ customer databases.

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