Transatlantic deal for web giant

Online Magic of London and Agency.com of New York have ended weeks of speculation by tying the knot with a transatlantic alliance.

Electronic communications firm Agency.com is known to have been in talks with Online as part of its plans to expand into the European market and boost its ability to handle clients on a global basis (DW 20 June).

It will now become a substantial shareholder in Online Magic, although clients, offices, and the names of the two companies will not change as a result of the deal. Combined billings for the two firms will be US$13m (8m) for 1997.

A spokesman for Agency.com says the deal was inspired by its recent work with British Airways. “We wanted a worldwide network of resources to better service the clients. BA itself really showed transatlantic capability and that inspired us,” he says.

Chan Suh, founder and chairman of Agency.com, says the partnership “joins two of the most exciting and successful interactive marketing companies in the world”.

It also unites a high-profile client list. Agency.com clients include Air Miles, American Express and technology giant Sun Microsystems. Online Magic clients include Boots, Channel 4 Television and the Department of Trade and Industry.

The management structure for both sides remains unchanged with James Best, chairman of advertising agency BMP DDB, continuing to act as chairman of Online Magic.

Agency.com is also in talks to make a similar investment in New York web firm Spiral Media, whose clients include AT&T’s WorldNet. An announcement is expected within two weeks.

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