Initiative's media billings in Australia are expected to be about $200 million, derived from such international clients as Adidas, Calvin Klein, Compaq, Johnson & Johnson, Mobil and Nestle.
Both Initiative and APL are owned by the U.S. based Interpublic Group, which also owns a local media buyer, Merchant & Partners.
The move comes a fortnight after international rival media giant Carat moved into Australia with the acquisition of local Halmarick Media. Carat is also rumored to be negotiating with Sydney-based Bray Media.
Philippe-Emmanuel Portois, Initiative's former managing director in Belgium, will head the Australian operation. APL National Media Director Janis Carter and Melbourne Media Director David Hoyle will report to him.
Marie-Jose Forissier, Paris-based CEO of Initiative, says Merchant & Partners will remain a separate business although it works with Initiative on international clients. "Certainly, we shall try to find some synergies with these people," she says.
Copyright March 1998, Crain Communications Inc.