IAR Bits and Bytes

DoubleClick Buys Rest of Abacus Direct Europe

Online advertising giant DoubleClick purchased the 50 percent of Abacus Direct Europe it didn’t already own from its former partner, Claritas Europe.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The agreement allows DoubleClick to take the reins of the Abacus Europe business, which currently operates in the United Kingdom and begin more aggressively expanding.

“The Abacus business model has been very successful in the U.S. and the U.K. and we look forward to expanding this model into additional countries,” said Brian Rainey, president of Abacus.

That expansion plan is why DoubleClick and Claritas agreed that the Dutch data firm will continue to provide services to Abacus’ European operations over the next five years. Chris Morris, who has overseen the U.K. business for the last three years, will continue in his current position as managing director.

Abacus UK launched in November 1998, and since then, 250 catalogers have joined the Abacus UK Alliance, a repository of shared data that includes 250 million transactions from 26 million households. The company overlays Claritas’ “The Lifestyle Universe” (TLU) data, which provides income, life stage and lifestyle data for every adult in the U.K.

MindArrow Gets Into the List Business

MindArrow Systems, chiefly known for its rich media email products, is getting into the list brokering and append business, launching a division called MindArrow OnTarget.

The company says it started providing the services — which will include list brokering, list consulting, database appending, and opt-in email growth strategies — after receiving requests from clients.

“We are pleased to expand our solution set to include expert advice and strategy for such a critical need,” said Jeanniey Mullen, chief marketing officer for MindArrow.

Although email append is an increasingly popular service, it’s still a controversial one. To combat those concerns, MindArrow says it will only append email addresses of people and businesses that have expressly agreed to be emailed offers.

Modem Media Restructures

In a bid to bring costs in line with revenues, interactive agency Modem Media is closing offices, reducing staffing levels, and shedding office space.

The pullback, announced yesterday, will result in the closure of offices in Toronto, Hong Kong, and Munich; the reduction of headcount in most other offices; and the reduction of office space in London and in its Norwalk, Conn. headquarters.

Overall, 90 employees will be cut, leaving the company with approximately 310 staffers worldwide, in offices in Norwalk, San Francisco, London, and Sao Paulo.

“Anticipating a resurgence in growth in the second half of this year, we retained extra capacity in North America and continued to invest in our international network,” said Marc Particelli, president and chief executive officer of Modem Media. “Given the slower than expected recovery of our U.S. business, we are resizing capacity and refocusing our resources on markets with the highest potential and offices with scale and market strength.”

The company hopes to save $4 million this year by making these changes, although it’ll cost $4 million to implement the plan. Modem expects to write down $12 million in the second quarter to account for the move and will take a $3 to $4 million goodwill impairment to conform with new accounting rules. As of the end of May, Modem had $45 million cash on hand.

The company expects to bring in $18 to $19 million in the second quarter of 2002, with earnings coming in at break-even or slightly below. Because of the office closures and lower-than-expected results in North America, the company now expects revenue in the range of $70 to $75 million for the full year 2002, with earnings, excluding one-time items, at $0.08 to $0.11 per share.

Jupiter Media Metrix Files to Liquidate

After selling the last of its businesses to INT Media Group, parent company of internetnews.com, once high-flying research firm Jupiter Media Metrix has filed with the Security and Exchange Commission to liquidate the remaining assets of the company.

Last week, New York-based Jupiter Media Metrix announced the sale of its Jupiter Research and Events groups to INT Media for $250,000. It had previously sold the Media Metrix division to comScore Networks and offloaded its AdRelevance unit to NetRatings after a merger with NetRatings was nixed by federal regulators.

The firm, which proposes to change its name to JMXI, Inc., will remain in existence as a non-operating company for three years, which is required under Delaware law and gives it time to handle all outstanding transactions and make distributions to shareholders — if any are to be made. Shareholders must approve the name change and the dissolution.

Jupiter Media Metrix also announced that its chief financial officer, Jean Robinson, resigned effective today.

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