Executives at Arnold Communications last week said the agency has completed a buyout of Circle Interactive, bringing the new media shop's founders and at least a half-dozen employees into the Arnold fold.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Circle will operate as a unit of Boston-based Arnold and retain its name. Arnold Interactive's seven or so staffers will work for Circle.
Arnold's negotiations with Circle began last year, well before Snyder Communications in Bethesda, Md., confirmed its intent to buy New England's largest ad agency, according to Arnold managing partner and chief operating officer Dick Emerson.
Arnold Interactive, which has created Web sites for Volkswagen of America and other clients, has twice seen its directors--first Ken Smith and more recently Greg Titus-- recruited away. "We were committed to the interactive discipline and needed to add a senior management capability," Emerson said.
Circle was started 15 months ago when Eric Snyder (no relation to Daniel Snyder, chairman and chief executive officer of Snyder Communications) and Dave Batista spun off a new media unit from Pagano Schenck & Kay in Boston.
Circle's only tie to PSK was severed when the sale of the interactive shop to Arnold was finalized. Snyder said PSK chairman Woody Kay, who maintained a small stake in the shop, was cashed out by Arnold.
Becoming one of the top 50 interactive shops nationally is Circle's immediate goal. To do that, the new media shop must end 1998 with revenues of at least $3 million, said Snyder, who reports to Emerson.
Circle appears to be off to a good start. In April it was awarded a contract by Bell Atlantic's residential marketing group to develop a Web site. It also was tapped by Massachusetts General Hospital to develop sites initially for four of its specialities.
Other Circle clients include Dana-Farber/Partners CancerCare, Oberon Software, Whistler Corp. and Northern Light Technology.