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ARGI Merges with iPacesetters

Goal is to combine database management with outbound marketing.

Two of the publishing industry’s more prominent suppliers, the fulfillment and database management company ARGI, and the teleservices firm iPacesetters, have combined to form a new supplier whose core vision is to not only house and analyze audience data, but also to use call centers to enrich it.

The new company, which keeps the name iPacesetters, will have over 1,000 employees and be based in Montvale, New Jersey. ARGI CEO Ray Butkus will be CEO of the combined company. Frank Royal, currently president of iPacesetters, will continue in that capacity for the combined entity and Gerry DeBiasi, partner of the private-equity firm Kidd & Company and Executive Chairman of iPacesetters, will also continue in that role.

Essentially, the transaction is an acquisition of ARGI by Kidd & Company, a Greenwich, Connecticut-based firm. ARGI’s primary owner, private-equity firm Shore Points Partners, will continue as a minority investor in the new company, while two other private-equity investors in ARGI have been bought out.

“The company brings together the call center/contact center capabilities of iPacesetters and the technology and database-management capabilities of ARGI,” Butkus said in an interview. “The vision that brought the two companies together was shared between me and Gerry DiBiasi. We believe the publishing industry is moving toward enriching data, so that they can do more with it. Publishers want data that can help them drive revenue.

“In order to do that, it isn’t sufficient to just house data or analyze it, you need to provide a capability to enrich it. And contact centers are a great way, maybe the best way, to enrich that data.”

The new company will serve two verticals, publishing and cable. It will have facilities in several Wisconsin cities and Mesa, Arizona in addition to New Jersey. Coming in to run the publishing operation are two magazine-industry veterans. Jeffrey Reinhardt, a former executive with Cowles Business Media, Intertec Publishing and Primedia, will run the business development, sales, marketing and account management operations for the iPacesetters Publishing Group. And Eric Rutter, a longtime audience-development executive with Reed Business Information, will handle the account management operation for Reinhardt’s group.

The iPacesetters that exists today was formerly known as American Pacesetters. It grew through two major acquisitions, the purchase of an Indian research and database firm, IQ Resources, in 2009, and the acquisition of Charleton Telemarketing in May.

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