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Universal Millennium acquires Wilde

Published on June 3, 2011

CTO/CMO John Sisson reveals to WhatTheyThink that Universal Millennium is acquiring the Wilde Group. Cary Sherburne interviews John for more info.

Cary Sherburne: Hi, I'm Cary Sherburne, senior editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I'm here with John Sisson who is chief technology officer and chief marketing officer for Universal Millennium, which is a company that was built up through a series of acquisitions and I understand you’ve just added another acquisition. Can you talk to us about that?

John Sisson: Sure. We have acquired the Wild Solutions Group and the Wild Agency. It’s a strategically great move for us and for Wild and the combination of the two companies is I think going to provide a tremendous amount of value to current and future customers.

Cary: Yeah, Ed Moreno was the president most recently over there and I know from talking to him that they really felt like they—well you’re never done with it, but they had made really huge progress towards being a marketing services company and so they’re going to bring that kind of value right, into-

John: No question about it.

Cary: The other interesting thing I always found about them was their ability to balance the fact that they had an in-house agency with having agency clients. That’s not an easy thing to do.

John: It isn’t but I mean just in the time that we’ve been talking about being together I know I've come to the realization that agencies do different things and so there really isn’t necessarily competition. Clearly we won’t do business for an agency that’s specifically like the Wild Agency, which is all about getting people to act and direct marketing and direct mail and so forth, so if it’s a branding agency we can still help them, but it’s not competition with everybody by any means.

Cary: And so they’re kind of further west in Massachusetts than the rest of your stuff. Are you keeping the facility? Are you going to consolidate that somewhere?

John: No, we’re keeping the facilities. Actually if anything, from that perspective there is little change. This is all about growth for both companies as a result of the acquisition. It really is two different businesses that fit together beautifully, so if you think about Universal it’s very much a transactional oriented business and I would call it, although moving into the marketing services business it’s still relatively a small portion of the total. The flipside on the Wild piece is that it’s a program business. It’s very much further along mainly because of the agency on the marketing services side and so those two fit together from our customer’s perspective, lower total cost of ownership, streamlined, probably cut time to market for what we’re producing and offer entrée into different areas of their company for our services.

Cary: Now they have another aspect to their business, the LW Robbins [ph]-

John: Agency.

Cary: Does that go with it?

John: It does not, so they become one of Wild’s largest customers. They are in the nonprofit strategy agency type of business and then we do the mail production, digital printing, variable printing for them and we’re expecting them to grow and for us to grow along with them. It’s obviously a tight relationship because we are in the same facilities and they were one company before, but that part is being separated out.

Cary: And will the Wild name remain?

John: It will. It will. We think there is a lot of brand recognition with Wild.

Cary: Well I think it’s also fun the things you can do

John: I know, go wild, but yeah, I think we’ll have some fun with it

Cary: And then Ed is going to run LW Robbins

John: He is. That is my understanding at any rate and I'm going to be running Wild

Cary: Okay

John: So that’s a great opportunity for me

Cary: So you’ll be commuting a little further

John: A little further, but it’s not all that far away

Cary: And I know you’re going to really love working with Julie Sullivan over there.

John: Absolutely, yeah and actually the one thing I can say having met a lot of the people there is that it’s a fantastic team. It really is. Good people, have their head in the game and I think they bring a lot to the party. I know our sales force is really excited about this, so.

Cary: And so 300 employees at UM Inc. and how many at Wild?

John: 300 at Wild.

Cary: So you’re doubling your size.

John: That’s right.

Cary: Holy cow.

John: Yeah, yeah, it’s a big deal. It is definitely a big deal.

Cary: Well congratulations.

John: Thank you. I really appreciate it.

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