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Geary Interactive Acquires Search-Engine Marketing Firm

Geary Interactive, a San Diego-based digital marketing agency, on March 27 acquired and absorbed Fathom Online of San Francisco, a search-engine marketing and technology services firm.

Andreas Roell, president and chief executive officer of Geary, declined to cite what it paid to acquire Fathom, but said that it was a “multimillion-dollar” deal.

The purpose of the acquisition was to create an integrated, independent agency. Geary now employs 63 people after absorbing Fathom’s 20 workers.

Anticipated gross income for Geary is $15 million in 2008. Geary, founded in 2000, had gross income of $5.5 million in 2007, while Fathom, founded in 2002, had $4.5 million, Roell said.

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According to the Business Journal’s 2008 Book of Lists, Geary’s adjusted gross income in the 2006 fiscal year stood at $4.92 million, placing it second behind Greenhaus Inc., which was No. 1 on the Advertising Agencies list with $7.08 million.

“Search-engine tactics are the most popular element of a digital marketing campaign,” Roell said. “In order to effectively generate search demand and convert customers’ search clicks, the campaign must also include a strong integration with Web development, paid and organic (non-paid) digital media planning and data analytics.

“Additionally, the combined entity has enhanced growth opportunities and a more diversified customer base, giving us a competitive edge.”

Key members of the Fathom team will assume positions with Geary, including Steve Gillan, who will serve as chief financial officer and managing director of the San Francisco office. New York City-based Constellation Ventures, an early investor in Fathom, will assume a seat on the Geary board of directors.

Geary’s client list includes the San Diego-based WD-40 Co., M & T; Bank and the Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Fathom’s clients include Covad Communications Group, a provider of voice and data communications; PlanetOut Inc., a media and entertainment company; and American Apparel Inc.

According to Reid Carr, chief executive officer of San Diego-based Red Door Interactive Inc., Geary’s acquisition enables it to “expand their reach up into the (San Francisco) Bay Area, which has a lot of the types of clients they’re interested in reaching.”

He referred to those firms as “Webcentric,” meaning their marketing is Web oriented.

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