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Maxxcom up for sale

NEW YORK - Canadian marketing and communications firm Maxxcom is understood to have been put up for sale by its parent MDC Corporation, following a disappointing first half.

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The news comes on the back of a recent shopping spree which netted it two significant buys in the last 12 months.

In January, it bought Crispin Porter + Bogusky and, in September last year, it ventured out of the US for the first time, taking a 60% stake in Interfocus. This stake effectively financed Interfocus's purchase of then troubled Osprey Communications. Having sold to Maxxcom, Interfocus CEO and chairman Matthew Hooper might now have to buy himself back out.

As well as forking out on acquisitions, the company has watched its profits dwindle this first half. At the end of last month, the company reported second-quarter net income down 87% to $6.5m (£4.5m), while first-quarter net income fell 58% to $1.2m (£830,000).

Meanwhile, speculation is mounting that Interfocus is not weathering the advertising slowdown in the UK well. It is believed the agency has not won any new business in the last 18 months and that it has lost a series of accounts.

These are believed to include the £6m Furniture Village work; Jordans Cereal's £3m account; Indian Tourist Board business worth £2m; the £1m Civil Aviation Authority work; and People's Choice Insurance, which was worth £4m. This business was obtained through the company's purchase of Osprey.

Interfocus announced only last month that it has bought hi-tech agency Grange Advertising and Marketing, which is to be renamed Interfocus Technology.

Maxxcom also owns US direct marketing firm Chinnici Direct and PR agency Bratskeir & Company.

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