iCrossing Doubles Size With Proxicom Buy

More than doubling in size overnight, the search-centric iCrossing has acquired Web development agency Proxicom for an undisclosed sum. Growing from 200 to 550 employees, the merger is in line with iCrossing's grand designs to become a top full-service digital agency.

"If you're going to be optimizing pages, you might as well build them," reasoned iCrossing President Don Scales. The two companies had been in talks for about three months prior to Monday's announcement, he said.

Making the deal possible, iCrossing just received $62 million in funding from Goldman, Sachs and existing investors Oak Investment Partners, RRE Ventures and StarVest Partners L.P.

Proxicom gives iCrossing access to an entirely new roster of clients--as there is virtually no overlap between the two companies, according to Scales. Of particular note is Proxicom's automotive vertical, which includes Chevron and Toyota. Dupont is another key Proxicom client.

The acquisition marks one of several recent growth initiatives since the addition of Scales, former CEO of Omnicom's Agency.com.

"I've followed [Proxicom] since my Agency.com days, so when they became available I knew they were perfect for us to build out our Web development capabilities," Scales said.

In April, iCrossing tapped JumpTap to give its clients an initial mobile edge. Under the partnership, iCrossing is providing its clients with ad placement on the mobile Web sites of U.S. wireless carriers through JumpTap's white-label mobile search and advertising system.

In March, it agreed to acquire Sharp Analytics to combine iCrossing's digital-marketing services with Sharp's proprietary marketing dashboard technology, SharpView. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Also this year, iCrossing acquired a U.K.-based SEM company named Spannerworks for about $18 million. In addition to search engine marketing and optimization, Spannerworks gave iCrossing a marketing practice focused on social networking and viral initiatives. (With the deal, iCrossing also gained its first office outside the U.S.)

Late last year, the company acquired a San Francisco-based search agency, NewGate Internet, Inc. In addition, last year iCrossing hired three industry veterans with ties to Madison Avenue: Ian Baer, formerly chief strategic officer for TBWA's Tequila; Christopher Marquardt, formerly head of client services at Omnicom's Organic; and Lance Williams, from Agency.com.

Founded in 1998 as a search marketing agency, iCrossing's clients now include Travelocity and some 40 Fortune 500 companies, including The Coca-Cola Co., General Motors and Office Depot.

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