Dentsu buys stake in French ad agency

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TOKYO--Japanese advertising company Dentsu has acquired a 34% stake in Paris-based advertising agency 154 (CentCinquante Quatre) to strengthen its position in the European advertising market. Founded in 1986, 154 had a 1998 gross income of $3.5 million.

France was, until now, one of the few major markets in Europe where Dentsu didn't have a foothold. The Japanese group already has majority stakes in agencies in Milan, London, Madrid, Duesseldorf and Brussels, and has minority holdings in agencies in Istanbul, Dublin and London.

Dentsu is the world's largest ad agency by gross income due to its dominant position in the Japanese market, but it's a marginal player at best in North American and Europe. Dentsu is in talks with Leo Burnett Co. about acquiring a minority equity stake in the Chicago-based agency holding company.

Luc Duvoux is president-director general of 154 and Frantz Roesch is director general.

Copyright June 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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