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SmartFocus boosts media services with acquisition

Marketing software company SmartFocus Group has purchased Astech Intermedia, a marketing systems provider serving the news media, in a move expected to boost the marketing capabilities of the companies’ newspaper clients.

The acquisition, a $3.2 million consideration, adds more than 200 Astech clients, including USA Today and the New York Times, to the SmartFocus client list. The two companies have held a business relationship for five years, under which Astech was using SmartFocus technology to assist clients with data-driven marketing campaigns.

“Our clients, for the most part, have been traditional newspaper companies, and the industry is in a state of transformation, as companies try to remake themselves from daily printed newspapers into multidimensional, multichannel, integrated media companies,” said Tom Ratkovich, president of Astech.

“We’re trying to provide a marketing infrastructure to facilitate that transformation and to help people become more productive with subscriber acquisition and retention activities. There’s also the opportunity to nurture new revenue streams and open new channels of communication, such as e-mail marketing and SMS. We really have a passion for the news media, and for us to pursue that passion more effectively we, as a small company, needed to affiliate ourselves with someone who had the resources, knowledge and client base to take it to the next level.”

Curt Bloom, international managing director for SmartFocus, added that the acquisition was appealing because it will help UK-based SmartFocus increase its presence in the US and grow its recurring revenue base. Astech’s concentration in a very specific vertical also helped win over SmartFocus, which serves a variety of industries, such as travel, finance and retail. Astech, for its part, is looking to grow overseas and implement more of SmartFocus’ technologies, including e-mail and online marketing.

“This will expose Astech customers to more options of SmartFocus products, and they will also have access to a deeper range of best practices from the more than 300 clients we’re serving now,” Bloom noted. “On the SmartFocus side, one of the things the acquisition does is give us the capability of speaking with news media all over the world, and one of our mandates is to grow internationally, so now we have a very strong vertical proposition with key knowledge of that industry.” 

Astech will remain at its Denver, CO, headquarters, and no staff changes are expected.

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