Merkle, Atlantis Make Acquisitions

Database marketing agency Merkle Direct Marketing Inc. bought Sigma Analytics and Consulting, an Atlanta firm that creates statistical solutions for risk and marketing applications, it was announced yesterday.

The purchase gives Merkle, Lanham, MD, access to a broader array of analytical products and services aimed mainly at financial services companies. Terms were not disclosed.

Sigma will continue to operate from Atlanta with its current staff as a division of Merkle's Data Solutions group. The 33-year-old Merkle has clients like DirecTV, Dell Inc., Nationwide Insurance and the Arthritis Foundation.

Founded in 1997 by Dave Kelly, Sigma offers analytics services to clients in financial and credit services, automotive lending and e-commerce categories. Sigma's offerings include scoring services, database and data content consulting, monitoring, performance tracking and strategy consulting through its DecisionMiner product.

Meanwhile, Atlantis Business Development Corporation Inc. signed a letter of intent to buy E-Direct Inc., a multimedia agency whose strengths lie in voice over Internet protocol opt-in fax broadcasting and opt-in e-mailing.

The deal entails the complete buyout of E-Direct for 19 million shares of Atlantis and $250,000 in cash. Atlantis, Red Bank, NJ, is an investor in companies seeking to go public through reverse merger.

E-Direct will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlantis with assets estimated at $3.5 million and anticipated quarterly revenue of more than $450,000.

E-Direct claims it is one of only six major fax broadcasters in the United States and Canada. VoIP technology makes its offerings cheaper than analog transmissions. The company has a database of 8 million opt-in fax numbers and 220 million opt-in e-mails sourced from infoUSA and D&B, among others.

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