Hearst Corporation buys iCrossing

Hearst Corporation, parent company of Nat Mags’ titles Esquire and Cosmopolitan, is to buy digital marketing agency iCrossing in a deal worth an estimated $325m (£221.4m).

iCrossing, which bought Brighton-based search agency Spannerworks in February 2007, is the first in what Hearst anticipates will be series of investments, sitting within its newly-formed Hearst Marketing Services division.

Hearst said iCrossing, which has global clients including Coca-Cola and Toyota, will not be merged within its publishing arm, but will work closely to help influence its digital stategy.

The agreement follows months of protracted negotiations between the two companies, with an initial offer from Hearst rejected by iCrossing late last year.

Frank A. Bennack, vice chairman and CEO at Hearst Corporation, said, “Search and online marketing expertise will be an important asset for us as we continue to look for new ways to reach key audiences through digital marketing for our brands and our clients.”

“We plan to effectively bolster iCrossing’s strengths with future investments that add complementary capabilities and services, and expect this new line of business to grow very well for Hearst,” he added.

iCrossing UK ranked second in the search listing in this year’s New Media Age Marketing Services Guide with an income from search of £7.37m. The company said the jobs of its UK staff, which exceed 100, are safe following the acquisition.

Spannerworks was founded in 1997 by Arjo Ghosh. Last year Ghosh stepped down from his day to day role as CEO to become chairman, replaced by Paul Doleman.

This story first appeared on newmediaage.co.uk

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