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Mandel Buys Specialists Back From ClientLogic

Longtime list professional Lon Mandel said yesterday that he acquired Specialists Marketing Services Inc. from parent firm ClientLogic for an undisclosed sum. The deal closed Dec. 6.

In an interview with DM News, Mandel said the company would stay in its Weehawken, NJ, headquarters and retain its current staff as well as look to expand by adding clients and staff.

“The only thing that will change is that I have full autonomy to go in new directions,” said Mandel, who serves as CEO of the new company. “I think we're going to look at growing the business from the BTB side as well as the e-mail marketing side. We'll also be moving more into the consultative services side.”

Specialists has a strong presence in consumer catalog and publishing list brokerage and management with Williams-Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, Bookspan and Primedia as clients. It also has an insert media division.

After 20 years at Specialists, Mandel said, the timing was right to make the change.

“I think it's a time in my life when I felt good about doing this transaction,” he said. “I was a minority shareholder when ClientLogic bought the company, and now I have the opportunity to own the entire company.”

Mandel was at the helm of Specialists in 1999 when ClientLogic bought the company, and he stayed in that position throughout its ownership. He said ClientLogic has been a good partner and that the two companies would continue to work together on several initiatives on behalf of mutual clients.

In a statement, ClientLogic said it sold so it could focus on being a business process outsourcing provider. Though it received interest from potential buyers, “none presented the synergistic opportunities achievable through the transfer of ownership” to Mandel.

The acquisition comes as several formerly private list companies, most recently Millard Group, have been acquired by public database company infoUSA. Though Nashville, TN-based ClientLogic is not a public company, the purchase still bucks the trend by removing Specialists from under the wing of a large company to stand on its own.

Kristen Bremner covers list news, insert media, privacy and fundraising for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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