US Promo and Direct Mail Giants Merge in $1.3bn Deal

10 July 2006

Newspaper-coupon redemption specialist Valassis Communications is to acquire market-leading direct mail firm Advo in a $1.3 billion (€1.01bn; £702.2m) debt-financed deal.

If, as some believe, the Almighty is an investment banker, this would be a marriage made in heaven. It decreases Valassis' dependence on the shrinking competitive bloodbath that is the newspaper-coupon business, while increasing Advo's profile with fmcg marketers.

Despite the obvious strategic advantages of the marriage, the market took fright at the massive debt underpinning the deal and its knock-on dilution of future earnings. Valassis stock accordingly dived 15.6% on the New York Stock Exchange.