Tierney buys ad shop, starts PR firm

Brian P. Tierney, publisher of the Inquirer before creditors took it over in bankruptcy proceedings this past summer, says he's bought "digital marketing services" provider RealTime Media Inc., King of Prussia, with backing from Michael DiPiano's NewSpring Capital, Radnor, a previous investor in RealTime.

Tierney won't say what he paid for RealTime, a 17-year-old firm which employs 25 and claims CNN, Toys R Us, Comcast Interactive and AOL as clients for its online polling and other services. RealTime ceo Bill Reilly "will become a consultant," Tierney told me.

The former newspaper baron says he's hired a couple of loyalists: Ryan Davis, who Tierney hired to run Philadelphia Media website philly.com, and Ed Mahlman, a former Pennsylvania Lottery director who Tierney had hired as head of Philadelphia Media marketing.

Tierney says he's also started a new PR agency, Brian Public Relations. He formerly headed Tierney Communications, now part of Interpublic Group.

NewSpring was among the advisers to Tierney's former company, Philadelphia Media Holdings, in its 2006 acquisition of the paper and its affiliates. Tierney met DiPiano when both invested in diet-food purveyor NutriSystems in the mid-2000s.