CIA Group turns MQI Mediahaus into second international media brand

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DUESSELDORF -- CIA Group, the holding company for CIA Medianetwork Europe--Europe's second largest independent media buying and planning specialist after Carat--is creating a second network based in Germany that will target multinational marketers operating in Germany, plus Central and Eastern Europe. The new network will eventually operate under the name MQI Mediahaus.

In January 1995, CIA Group bought a 21% stake in Germany's second largest media independent, Mediahaus Strobel. U.K.-based CIA Group is now increasing its stake by 24% for a total of 45%. In addition to shares, CIA Group is paying $2.1 million for the new stake.

Beginning in 1994, Mediahaus Strobel began building a network of media independents outside Germany under the name Media Quality International (MQI). It was the first media independent set up specifically to service international accounts out of Germany. MQI handles media billings of $740 million, of which the German market accounts for $580 million. Although the MQI offices mostly handle national accounts, the East European network already has two international clients--Shell and Chiquita bananas. Mediahaus Strobel also operated foreign offices under names other than MQI.

Following the CIA move this week, both Mediahaus Strobel in Germany and the MQI agencies will eventually be rebranded MQI Mediahaus. Jurgen Strobel,chairman of Mediahaus Strobel, now owns 55% of the company he founded in the early 1990s. CIA has option to increase its stake in Mediahaus Strobel to 100% between 2001 and 2005.

Mr. Strobel will be in charge of the German operations, while Hans Kratz, who came to MQI last year from Henkel, where he was media manager, will oversee MQI's international business.

Separately in 1994, the CIA Group bought a 67% stake in a joint venture with Mediahaus Strobel called CIA Medianetwork Deutschland in Duesseldorf. This week, CIA has bought the remaining shares in that German operation for $820,000.

Copyright January 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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