Inktomi abandons Access, picks F-H

FOSTER CITY, CA: Inktomi, a big-name Silicon Valley player in the

Internet infrastructure software arena, has handed its estimated dollars

300,000 to dollars 400,000 PR business to Fleishman-Hillard in San

Francisco, ending a four-year relationship with San Francisco-based

Access Communications.

Fleishman triumphed in a competitive pitch that included bids from Blanc

& Otus and the Horn Group, both top-performing, San Francisco-based tech

specialist firms, said a source. Access, which wrapped up its

relationship with Inktomi at the end of last week, did not participate

in the review.

'After almost four years, and the growth and changes at Inktomi, we felt

it was time for a change,' explained Steve Diamond, director of

corporate communications for Inktomi. 'All the agencies were strong

contenders and this was a difficult choice, but Fleishman demonstrated

excellent strategic thinking along with providing the detail to prove

they can execute strongly on plans.'

For Fleishman's San Francisco office, Inktomi is just one of a handful

of new clients it has signed in the first quarter, adding more than

dollars 3 million to its total 2001 income. Other recent wins include

Avanade, a joint venture between Accenture and Microsoft, and YY

Software. In addition, the office has picked up two as-yet-unnamed

clients - one in financial services and another in the litigation

support division.

The wins couldn't arrive at a better time for Fleishman, which recently

lost the multi-million-dollar Sony Playstation business to Hill &

Knowlton. And it is said that long-time Fleishman clients Pacific

Bell/SBC and Nortel Networks have trimmed back PR budgets in recent

days, with Intel and Yahoo! budgets also affected.

For Access, which lost the head of its b-to-b group to Fleishman earlier

this year, Inktomi's exodus is likely to be viewed as a major loss.

However, the agency still handles such high-profile accounts as Siebel

Systems, Intellispace and Autotrader.

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