HMS Acquires Interactive Arm

18 Months of Looking Leads to Studiomotiv
CHICAGO–After an 18-month search, HMS Partners has found an Internet partner, buying a shop in its own back yard.
HMS, Columbus, Ohio, purchased crosstown shop Studiomotiv, a unit with approximately $2 million in annual gross income and clients including Hewlett-Packard, AT&T, The Learning Co. and John Deere, according to HMS chief executive Rick Milenthal. The acquired shop’s focus includes Web site design and development, CD-based marketing communications and interactive kiosks.
“We definitely waited,” Milenthal said of HMS’ somewhat belated entry into the digital world. “We have been cognizant of some of the mistakes made by other agencies.”
Among those mistakes, Milenthal said, are taking on an Web unit and squelching its culture; or allowing it to remain so independent that the shop’s own culture doesn’t evolve.
Studiomotiv retains its name and executive leadership, headed by principal Robert Abbott, but will move into HMS’ headquarters by Jan. 1. It will work with all of HMS’ shops, which include Firewerks in Minneapolis and agencies in Cincinnati and Memphis.
Milenthal said he could see immediate applications for HMS clients Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Huntington Banks.
Milenthal would not discuss terms of the deal, other than to say it was a cash transaction. –Trevor Jense