Lapham/Miller Buys Imagicians

Lapham/Miller has purchased interactive shop Imagicians, a move L/M management believes will help the agency better compete against larger regional rivals.

Andover, Mass.-based L/M had been seeking to buy an interactive specialist for some time, said president Chip Rives.

“We’ve been looking to expand and become a full-service agency,” he said. “This is the last piece of that [expansion].”

The acquisition comes on the heels of L/M launching McMahon & Shaffer Brand Promotions earlier this year.

L/M had collaborated with Imagicians of Boston for about two years on various projects for clients of both shops. Rives was impressed with Imagicians’ ability to combine creative prowess with technical expertise, and that led him to purchase Imagicians for an undisclosed amount, he said. Imagicians claimed 2001 revenue of $1.7 million. In the current market, an agency of that size would likely fetch a sale price of $1.5-2 million, according to industry analysts.

Imagicians had been approached by several suitors since its inception in 1997, according to co-founder and former president Jay Lozada.

“It wasn’t until Lapham/Miller that we found the right mix of people, culture and resources,” Lozada said.

Imagicians, which will remain in Boston, has been renamed Lapham/Miller Interactive and will function as an agency division, led by Lozada as managing director. Assisting Lozada are Timothy Reed, director of development services, and Dana Palko, creative director. None of Imagicians’ 15 employees lose their jobs in the buyout, Lozada said.

The division will mainly offer Web design and development, though it also creates e-mail marketing initiatives and content management tools that clients can use themselves to update their sites, Lozada said.

In recent weeks, Imagicians had picked up integrated chores for Videolink, a video production outfit in Watertown, Mass., and Deploy Solutions, a workplace-management software company in Westwood, Mass. Other key accounts include Palm, Genome Therapeutics, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dictaphone. The clients are expected to stay now that the shop will operate as a L/M division.

Lapham/Miller enjoyed a 16 percent boost in 2001 billings, placing the agency around $40 million. Revenue was up nearly 20 percent to$5.8 million.