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Citron Haligman Bedecarré Finds New Partners

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Citron Haligman Bedecarré, a Northern Cali fornia shop that specializes in e-commerce clients, is partnering with three new-economy businesses and launching as an international marketing company. The deal has attracted $71 million in venture capital from the participating companies.

The deal, speculated for weeks, will be announced today. Citron partners said the arrangement offers the shop a chance to eventually go public.

"It's a multihundred million- dollar combination," Citron chairman Tom Bedecarré said. "If we expand what we've done for clients like Palm, we think there's an opportunity to jump out ahead of anyone else."

Under the deal, Citron here has recently acquired Magnet Interactive, an independent Web builder and e-commerce application provider. The shop later this year will also partner with London-based AKQA, an independent Internet development and consulting company, and The AdInc., an Asian new-media shop.

"This is a major development … consulting firms wanting to be involved with marketing firms," Bedecarré said. "We're basically going to be [a combination of] traditional agencies and Internet shops."

He said the company will unveil its new name in several weeks.

Rick Hadala, a strategic-marketing consultant who has worked as chairman and CEO of Ammirati Puris Lintas North America (now Lowe Lintas & Partners), was named CEO of the new company.

Bedecarré will be COO, Citron president Kirk Citron will be chief business development officer and shop executive creative director Matt Haligman will be chief creative officer.

The shop claims estimated annual billings of $330 million. Other clients include Scudder Weisel, Women.com and Accenture Technology Ventures, which is an investor in the new company. neustadtDANIEL ARSENAULT (2)T. eckelman