Eagle River Wins Interactive Sprint Assignment, Negotiates Possible Sale of Unit to Omnicom

Eagle River Interactive here has been selected to handle new media programs for telecommunications giant Sprint while announcing it is negotiating to sell its interactive services unit to Omnicom.
A representative of Kansas City, Mo.-based Sprint confirmed that Eagle River was selected to handle “all new media initiatives” including its Internet site (www.sprint.com).
No budget was disclosed, but sources earlier estimated the assignment to be worth $10-15 million [Adweek, June 16]. The other finalist for the business was Valentine-McCormick-Ligibel in Kansas City. CKS Partners in Cupertino, Calif., withdrew from the review in June.
Before the Sprint decision, publicly held Eagle River announced that it planned to divest itself of all businesses except its Mastering Computers information technology training subsidiary.
Eagle River said it is negotiating with an undisclosed investor group to sell the assets of its SkiView outdoor advertising subsidiary. It also said it is engaged in negotiations with Omnicom Group for the sale of its interactive development business, the unit that will handle the Sprint work.
Kevin Rowe, executive vice president and general manager of Eagle River’s interactive unit, said that if the sale is completed, the entity would continue to be based in Chicago and operate as a stand-alone division of Omnicom. Executives at Omnicom could not be reached for comment.
Terry Graunke, Eagle River chairman and chief executive officer, has a long history with Omnicom. In 1991, he sold his Minneapolis direct marketing agency, U.S. Communications, to Omnicom and subsequently served as president of Omnicom units Rapp Collins in Minneapolis and then Focus GTE in Dallas. He founded Eagle River Interactive in 1994.
Eagle River’s interactive unit had revenue of $14.3 million in 1996 and $6.7 million in 1995. The SkiView unit had revenue last year of $3.9 million.