Donino Sells to Bates

In a move to strengthen its positioning in global technology marketing, Bates Worldwide, through its parent Cordiant Communications Group, has acquired Donino, White & Partners.
The Atlanta shop, now called DWP/Bates Technology, is planned as the springboard for what New York-based Bates expects to become a global agency network.
“This is an agency that’s shown spectacular growth in a spectacular part of the business,” said Bates president and chief executive officer Bill Whitehead. “DWP brings an expertise in technology that goes well beyond a simple dot-com business sense . . . If they were only building Web sites, we would not be having this conversation.”
Terms of the expected deal [Ad-week, June 12] were not disclosed, but estimated at $30 million in the London parent’s stock over a three-year term, sources said, dependent upon the agency’s performance.
DWP/Bates Technology will continue to operate independently at its Atlanta headquarters. It will immediately move to open additional North American offices in New York, San Francisco, Southern California and Toronto. An international presence will follow.
DWP has 90 employees and projected 2000 billings of $170 million, approximately tripling last year’s figure. Clients include Interland, UUNet, BrightLane.com and MaxRate.com.
The agency has been the subject of acquisition rumors for the past six months, but Frank Donino, who will become chairman and CEO of the new entity, said “none of them felt quite right” until Bates.
“A lot of major agencies approached us, but we were not comfortable with their interpretation of our vision to ultimately develop a worldwide technology-only services network,” Donino said. “It was clear [Whitehead] respected what we did and the chemistry quotient was right there.” K