Havas Advertising buys Snyder for $2.1 billion in stock

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PARIS -- France's Havas Advertising, the world's sixth biggest advertising group, and U.S.-based Snyder Communications, the world's No. 11, have agreed for the parent of Euro RSCG Worldwide to acquire Snyder in an all stock transaction valuing it $2.1 billion. The deal has been approved by the boards of both companies, but is subject to shareholder and antitrust approval.

Snyder is the holding company for Boston-based Arnold Communications, the 28th largest agency brand in the U.S., and global direct marketing giant Brann Worldwide of Deerfield Ill.

Havas claims the acquisition will leap frog it ahead of Young & Rubicam and Dentsu, the current No. 5 and No. 4 among global advertising groups. According to Advertising Age estimates, the combined group would indeed put Havas at a distant fourth behind WPP Group, ranked No. 3 behind Omnicom Group and Interpublic Group of Cos., respectively.

The acquisition will dramatically expand Havas' presence in North America, increasing its revenue there from 30% to 45% of total revenue.

In addition to Arnold and Brann, Havas picks up Snyder's marketing services company Bounty SCA Worldwide and Snyder's stake in new-media agency Circle.com.

Arnold will, whose clients include Volkswagen of America, will be the lead agency in Campus, Havas' other European network.

While Euro RSCG has the most billings of any international network operating within Europe according to Ad Age figures, Campus is tiny by comparison, ranking 22nd.

Bounty SCA Worldwide will operate as part of Euro RSCG Worldwide.

Copyright February 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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