iXL Shedding Marketing Services Unit

Atlanta-based interactive media shop iXL is close to a deal to sell its iXL Marketing Services unit, based in San Francisco, a company source said.

Talks were underway with several suitors and a deal was expected by the close of business Friday, said the source.

The sale would be iXL’s second spin-off since December, when it cut loose offices in Amsterdam, Berlin and Hamburg offices to create a new entity owned and operated managers in the shops.

Many interactive agencies have been shedding staff and peripheral operations in a bid to generate profit – or at least minimize losses – as Internet ad spending and financing have slowed dramatically up in the last year.

In November, iXL said it would close seven offices and reduce head count by about 850, or 35 percent, in order to turn a profit by early 2001.

“All of our sales and client service operations will be centered around our top 10 offices, which are performing extremely well,” CEO U. Bertram Ellis said at the time.