ICrossing Buys Web Shop Proxicom

NEW YORK Search agency iCrossing continued its metamorphosis into a full-service digital agency with the acquisition of site builder Proxicom.

The acquisition brings Scottsdale, Ariz.-based iCrossing a 250-employee shop that builds Internet sites for clients like Toyota, Chevron and Dupont. ICrossing plans to marry Proxicom’s site building with iCrossing’s existing search and analytics expertise to form a broader digital agency.

“Our DNA is in search,” said Don Scales, president of iCrossing. “Clients are looking to optimize their pages to be found. The logical extension of our strategy is to help them build those pages.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. All told, iCrossing said its operations now encompass $100 million in net revenue with 550 staffers in a dozen offices.

To finance the acquisition, iCrossing closed a $62 million round of financing, with new investor Goldman Sachs joining existing backers Oak Investment Partners, RRE Ventures and StarVest Partners. To date, iCrossing has collected over $120 million in financing. Its plans are to go public, said Scales, who joined iCrossing in March 2006 after serving as CEO of Omnicom Group’s Agency.com.

“What we’re trying to do is get to a scale where we have choices in our future,” he said. “Our intention is to go public.”

Building sites is a natural extension from iCrossing’s search expertise, Scales said. The company plans to mine the data inherent in consumer searches to better design the sites they arrive at, in the hopes of increasing conversions, he said.

“Clients are seeing that just because you build it doesn’t mean it can be found,” Scales said.

With its new business, iCrossing is setting up a structure reminiscent of aQuantive. Proxicom will form the basis for a Web development arm, while iCrossing will encompass its search optimization and advertising businesses. Sharp Analytics, which the company bought in March, serves as its data unit. In the past year, iCrossing has also acquired U.K. search agency Spannerworks and San Francisco search ad specialist NewGate Internet.

Reston, Va.-based Proxicom was a high-flyer during the Internet boom, along with fellow Web development and consulting shops like Razorfish and MarchFirst. It went public in 1999, eventually growing to 1,700 employees before the dot-com meltdown. In 2001, South African data-services company Dimension Data bought the shop. In 2005, investment firm The Gores Group acquired the company.

ICrossing plans to combine its offices with those of Proxicom in San Francisco, New York and Chicago. Proxicom will be led by Blue Van Dyke, a senior vice president of sales at the shop.