LVL Trims Staff as It Talks: Acquisition by Think New Ideas

LVL Communications has trimmed its payroll and is restructuring its debt as it negotiates to be acquired by Think New Ideas. The Palo Alto, Calif., agency has eliminated its production department by laying off all four employees.
“We opted to make our production department virtual,” said Cal Lai, agency chairman. “We will call on freelancers and temporary staffers as we need them.”
About four staffers from other departments have also been laid off or resigned, sources said. Vice president of operations L.A. Smith-Dickens resigned and is now a consultant for the agency.
LVL Advertising and LVL Interactive numbered more than 80 employees about two years ago. The staff count is about half that, said Lai. Most of the reductions have come from LVL Advertising, down to about 27.
LVL Interactive, headed by Steve Venuti, has grown and escaped relatively unscathed by the layoffs.
LVL has retained Credit Managers Association of California to help it restructure its debt. For more than two months LVL has been in acquisition talks with Think New Ideas, which has offices in Hollywood, Calif., New York and Atlanta.

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