CHICAGO: The long-delayed July 12 IPO for Internet incubator Divine InterVentures has the PR world wondering whether Buzz Divine, the company’s marketing and PR arm, will follow through on plans to become a major Midwest hi-tech player.
CHICAGO: The long-delayed July 12 IPO for Internet incubator Divine
InterVentures has the PR world wondering whether Buzz Divine, the
company’s marketing and PR arm, will follow through on plans to become a
major Midwest hi-tech player.
Buzz created its own buzz earlier this year, hiring PR and IR pros from
the likes of Financial Relations Board/BSMG and Hill & Knowlton. Since
then, however, the firm has been noticeably absent from the local PR
’When they first came to town, I was worried,’ said the head of one
national agency’s Chicago office. ’But I haven’t seen Buzz snare any
tech business this year.’ Two sources added that they heard Buzz has
pulled out of competitions for PR accounts in recent months.
Buzz director of PR David Onak said he could not comment because of the
quiet period surrounding its stock offering. He promised, however, that
Buzz intends to go after PR clients not affiliated with the ventures of
its parent company.
Buzz’s Web site lists three clients, including Click Interactive. But
Click director of PR Larry Mathias said, ’We are not currently working
with (Buzz) in any regard.’
Divine InterVentures is the brainchild of 49-year-old Andrew ’Flip’
Filipowski, who made a reported dollars 290 million when he sold his
last company, Platinum Technology. Filipowski has garnered widespread
coverage in Chicago during the past year, positioning himself as the
poster child for hi-tech development in the Windy City.
But as the stock market soured on Internet incubators, Divine ran into
problems with its IPO, through which the company was hoping to raise
dollars 460 million. Ultimately, Divine raised dollars 128.6 million in
its July stock sale.
Analysts estimate the company is burning through anywhere between
dollars 5 and dollars 15 million a month. Divine has started 54
companies since its birth last year but posted only dollars 5 million in
revenues during the first quarter, losing dollars 77 million.
’Divine is trying to attack the Internet from all angles,’ said
Morningstar stock analyst George Nichols.
Jeff Hirschkorn, a senior market analyst with IPO.com, said the
publicity Filipowski generated for his company might have created
’Divine has a lot of problems,’ he said. ’It’s got to get out of its own
shadow. They have to centralize their business and decide what they want
to be as a company.’ Whether PR will be part of the eventual mix is
unclear, he added.