Avenue A Changes Name to aQuantive

Interactive marketing company Avenue A announced on Thursday that it would change its name to aQuantive, in a move designed to give a clear identity to the company’s three business units, agencies Avenue A and i-FRONTIER and Atlas DMT.

“Avenue A is a strong brand, and will continue to be the name of our core agency division,” said Brian McAndrews, Avenue A’s chief executive and president. “By changing the name of our publicly-traded parent company to aQuantive, we have developed a corporate identity that encompasses all of our current brands and helps us clarify our position as one of the industry’s most successful digital marketing companies.”

Seattle-based Avenue A, which helps companies plan and run online advertising campaigns while also offering the technology for delivering the ads, said the name change would got into effect in a week. The company plans to announce a new stock symbol and Web site address on March 24.

Seattle branding firm Hornall Anderson Design Works worked with Avenue A on the new name, which is meant to evoke the measurable results the company produces.

The name change was necessitated by the company’s growth over the last two years. Begun as an interactive agency called Avenue A, the company spun out a digital marketing management unit, Atlas DMT, in April 2001. On top of that, Avenue A added another interactive agency, pharmaceutical-focused i-FRONTIER last December.

At the time, McAndrews said the company, with about $115 million in cash, was open to making further acquisitions, provided the companies provided a good strategic fit and could quickly add profits. The possibility of more acquisitions only increased two months later, when Avenue A reported fourth-quarter results that showed it going gangbusters.

The company blew past analyst expectations, posting its first quarterly profit and increasing its revenue 82 percent from a year earlier.

In addition to the name change, Avenue A announced that it would change the way it reports revenue at its Avenue A agency unit. In 2003, Avenue A plans to alter its contracts with clients so they will assume the direct liability for media purchases, instead of Avenue A. The changes are meant to consolidate how its interactive agencies, Avenue A and i-FRONTIER, report results. As a result, beginning in 2004 the company will only report revenue from the fees it charges for its services, not the entire media buy.

The changes mean the Avenue A unit will report net revenue recognition instead of gross revenue recognition. The company said the changes in its reporting structure and client contracts are comparable to that used by ad agencies and would not affect its financial forecasts.

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