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MM Group acquires rival Contact 24 from Havas

LONDON – Direct marketing firm MM Group has acquired rival business Contact 24 from advertising giant Havas, which sees the creation of the UK's largest independent outsourced contact centre service provider.

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The Bristol-based firms are already two of the UK's leading contact centre operators. The combined business has a network of multimedia contact centres, data management capabilities and specialist logistics and fulfilment operations based in Bristol, Bangor (Northern Ireland), Cardiff and Ashby-de-la-Zouch.

The MM Group saw its turnover rise by 32% in 2002 to £33m and it is listed fourth in Marketing Direct's Telemarketing League Table.

The acquisition will allow MM Group to capitalise on the experience of Contact 24 in the automotive and retail sectors, which complement its existing strength in the financial, travel and public sectors.

Jeff Smith, MM Group's chief executive, said: "This acquisition will bring together a wealth of experience from within MM Group and Contact 24. Over the last three years, MM Group has already established a significant market share and has been at the forefront of developing customer communication strategies.

He added: "This acquisition will enable us to build on those foundations and pursue our strategy for accelerated growth based on our ability to continue to deliver to our clients, the most innovative and value for money customer solutions."

Prior to the acquisition, Contact 24 said that it had been considering and reviewing its range of services.

Russ Hewitt, managing director of Contact 24, said: "We have developed our business by providing CRM solutions to some of the top brands in the country and have decided that our future lies with joining MM Group, a company already at the forefront of customer communication. The joining of the two companies will make for an unrivalled offering."

MM Group is one of the UK's largest outsourced service providers, offering multimedia contact centres, database management, e-commerce services, specialist fulfilment and list services.

Its clients have included the Foreign Office, which asked the company to set up the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Travel Advice Line the day after the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. The facility was up and running by September 16 and took 15,000 calls in its first week.

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