COSSETTE GAINS ENTRY INTO U.S. MARKET

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(Aug. 9, 2001) -- Cossette Communications Group, the largest communication-marketing company in Canada, announced today it has bought Post & Partners, New York.

The move finally gives Cossette an entry into the U.S., where it has been actively trying to acquire an agency for the past year.

Post & Partners -- to be now known as Cossette Post -- is a relatively small shop, with gross income last year of $10.8 million. But Cossette's senior partner of corporate development, Ian Saville, said the acqisition was a chance for Cossette to "set our stake in the ground. We're changing the scope of our company to make it truly North American."

Cossette had been looking for a foothold in the U.S. since opening Optimum Public Relations in Washington in 1997. Cossette posted $74.3 million (U.S.) in gross income in 2000, up 17.5%, on billings of $496.5 million, according to Advertising Age figures, placing it second to McLaren McCann Canada, Toronto. Cossette's clients include McDonald's Corp., Coca-Cola Co., General Motors Corp. and Molson Brewing.

"We were looking for an association with a company that was dedicated to doing great work," said Peter Post, Cossette Post's CEO. "We were also looking for a good cultural fit. Cossette calls it 'convergent communications.' Down here we call it 'integrated,' and we do that. We needed a little more sophistication, and they have that in spades."

The total purchase price is comprised of a closing payment and future payments based on the future financial performance of Cossette Post over a period slightly in excess of four years. The closing payment consideration amounts to $7.5 million, 80% of which is payable in cash and the balance satisfied by the issuance of 152,129 Cossette shares. The payment of the future consideration is also expected to be satisfied 80% in cash and 20% by the issuance of Cossette shares at the payment date market price. -- Rich Thomaselli

Copyright August 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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