2 Digitas Investors Look to Divest

BOSTON Digitas founder Michael Bronner and Hellman & Friedman Capital Partners, the private equity investor that holds a 45 percent stake in the
digital- and direct-marketing shop, are divesting themselves of some of their holdings in the company.

Together, the two stakeholders intend to offer a total of 15 million shares of the Boston i-shop’s common stock in a public offering, said Digitas chief operating officer and chief financial officer Jeff Cote.

Hellman Friedman, which initially invested $100 million in Digitas in 1999, looks to sell 14 million of its 26 million shares, decreasing its stake to about 25 percent. The San Francisco-based company plans to divest itself of the bulk of its Digitas investment over the next two or three years, since the life of the fund is nearing an end, said Cote.

Bronner, now chairman of Upromise, the Needham, Mass.-based customer loyalty and college savings program he founded in 2001, looks to reduce his 8-9 percent stake in Digitas to 5 percent by unloading about 3 million shares.

Hellman Friedman and Bronner did not return calls.

The selling shareholders also intend to grant the underwriters an over-allotment option to purchase up to an additional 2.25 million shares.
The managing underwriters for the offering are Morgan Stanley and Friedman, Billings, Ramsey.

Digitas shares (DTAS) closed on the Nasdaq on Tuesday at $6.19, down 56 cents or 8.3 percent. Its 52-week high is $6.90 and 52-week low is $2. The
company works with clients like American Express, AT&T and Delta Air Lines.