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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 5, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Smashing Ideas bought by Random House, 70 jobs intact

Seattle digital marketing shop Smashing Ideas was bought today by Random House, which said it’s going to keep the company and its 70 employees mostly based in Seattle.

Smashing Ideas has been producing interactive marketing projects such as games and branding websites for 15 years, working with clients such as Microsoft, Mattel, PBS, Disney and Nickelodeon.

The company has worked with Random House since last September on mobile applications based on books in the publisher’s catalog, starting with “Pat the Bunny” and “Wild About Books.”

Smashing Ideas is part of a cluster of Seatle-area marketing agencies that blend creative design and technical skills to produce interactive campaigns for the Web and new platforms, such as mobile devices.

Steve Jackson, chief executive of Smashing Ideas, said the firm will continue to serve outside clients as well as increase its work for Random House. The option to continue serving clients and operate independently was a factor in choosing Random House over other potential buyers, he said.

“For us it was the perfect time in our history with the perfect partner,” he said.

Smashing Ideas has six employees in Newcastle, England, and the rest are based in Seattle, working on two floors above the Nordstrom Rack near Pike Place Market.

In its release, Random House said the acquisition “signals the intention of Random House and its parent company to be leaders in digital content creation, and demonstrates their commitment to expanding revenues from mobile and interactive online products and services.”

The company said Smashing Ideas “will be focused particularly in the children’s, educational, lifestyle, and reference areas, as well as on working with Random House publishers to develop new content solutions for the mobile and online marketplaces.”

Random House is owned by Bertelsmann, which isn’t disclosing financial details of the deal.

Markus Dohle, Random House chief executive, said the companies “are a great fit creatively and culturally.”

More from his release quote:

“We are driven to create value for authors, brands, and clients, and the opportunity to do so together, through broad-based digital development of innovative and interactive engagement with consumers and readers, is enormously appealing to us. We intend to provide our new Smashing Ideas colleagues with abundant resources to help them grow as a profit center, as well as a creative force.”

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