Digitas to Buy Healthcare-Focused Agency

Digitas Inc., parent to Digitas LLC and Modem Media, plans to acquire another interactive agency, the healthcare-focused Medical Broadcasting Company (MBC).

The acquisition, for $30 million plus an unspecified payout based on performance over the next three years, complements Digitas’ existing involvement with pharmaceutical and healthcare marketers such as Pfizer and Wyeth.

Philadelphia-based MBC also serves those two clients, along with others like AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Novartis. It’s among the largest healthcare-focused agencies in the U.S., with 140 employees and projected 2005 revenues of between $23 million and $25 million.

“Thanks to a doubling in consumers’ use of the Internet as a medical information source and its ranking only behind care providers as the most credible source, online marketing is ascending to become a new leading media channel for healthcare,” said MBC founders David Kramer and Linda Holliday in a statement. “Many of our clients are preparing to advance their businesses’ online strategy to address this and we see tremendous benefit in being affiliated with the robust digital marketing capabilities found in the Digitas Inc. family of agencies.”

Digitas took a hit in the third quarter when client Delta declared bankruptcy, and the agency said it would have to write off as much as $4 million in bad debt.

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