$30 MILLION IN D'ARCY L.A. ACCOUNTS TO MOVE TO COLBY

Some Employees of Soon-to-Close Office to Shift to Dentsu-Owned Agency

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Holding companies Dentsu and Publicis Groupe have decided to consolidate some $30 million in billings from the Los Angeles office of Publicis' D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles into Dentsu-owned Colby & Partners, executives familiar with the changes said.

Moves expected
In a move that had long been rumored but frequently denied, D'Arcy accounts for video-game marketer Activision, wine maker Chandon Estates, Western Union and Best Software will move to Colby, whose main clients include American Suzuki Motor Corp. and Wherehouse Music, and is one of a number of agencies working for Target Corp.'s Mervyn's department stores.

In October, Publicis announced plans to shutter the 96-year-old D'Arcy agency brand after its acquisition of D'Arcy parent Bcom3 Group. The move today appears to be the first in what is expected to be a wave of consolidations among West Coast branch offices by the agency holding companies.

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D'Arcy's prime accounts, the $25 million to $30 million assignment for Philips' Sonicare, is not yet known, but the account is likely to be consolidated at another Publicis' agency, probably Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, according to the executives.

Another D'Arcy client, Herbalife International of America, is reconsidering its advertising plans and will not be moved to Colby.

Employees to shift
Colby will pick up some, but not all, of D'Arcy's 35 employees, the executives said. An additional 25 employees working at Publicis' MediaVest Worldwide, D'Arcy's media arm, will remain at the D'Arcy office.

Terms of the Colby-D'Arcy deal were not disclosed, but Japanese holding company Dentsu has a 15% stake in Paris-based Publicis.

Diane Krause, executive vice president and managing director, who has headed D'Arcy's Los Angeles office for almost eight years, said she notified the company earlier this year she planned to "take some time away from the fray" and "reassess priorities." She will remain at D'Arcy through the transition. The shop's creative director, Terry Balagia, has left the agency for a position at Fox Broadcasting Co. as senior vice president of creative marketing.

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