USWeb's acquisition of CKS Group last week will give both agencies something they lack: USWeb obtains greater creative resources; CKS gets access to cash and state-of-the-art technology it does not have.
"We will [still] be an integrated communications company," said Mark Kvamme, CEO of CKS, who will become chairman of Reinvent Communications, the name of the merged entity. Joe Firmage, CEO of USWeb, will have that title at Reinvent.
USWeb, Santa Clara, Calif., a provider of Internet services, has purchased dozens of interactive marketing companies in the last two years. The once-high-flying CKS saw its marketing talent overshadowed by its stock price, which hit $46.25 in 1997 and then tumbled to the low teens last November, where it has remained. Several principals of CKS have sold blocks of stock in recent months.
Kvamme denied that stock price was a factor in his decision to sell. "Quite frankly, we could have stayed on our own track and moved forward." The acquisition totaled about $350 million; the combined revenues of the new company will be around $230 million. Kvamme said CKS unit McKinney & Silver will remain in the group. The Interpublic Group of Cos. will own about 4 percent of Reinvent.