Publicis enters Asia with Singapore acquisition

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PARIS -- Publicis, the ad agency network based in France, is making its first foray into Asia as part of its new strategy of building a global network, following its decision last year to end its international alliance with True North Communications, the U.S.-based holding company for Foote Cone & Belding. Publicis announced on January 21 that it's acquiring a 60% stake in Eureka Advertising, a leading independent Singapore ad agency with 1997 billings forecast at $30m. The agency, with a staff of 70, services multinational clients including Shell, Fuji Xerox as well as local clients such as City Development, DBS Properties and NTUC Fairprice.

Publicis is Europe's biggest ad agency and seventh in the world. In the past Publicis has relied on a global alliance (since expired) with True North Communications to service its clients in Latin America and Asia. True North and Publicis continue to operate their European joint venture, Publicis FCB.

Publicis is now in the midst of a major international expansion plan to create its own wholly-owned network. In August the Publicis Group took its first step into Latin America with two agency acquisitions. It bought a 60% stake in Norton Publicidade, Brazil's 12th biggest agency and a 51% interest in Romero Y Asociados, which has operated in Mexico for 45 years. In September Publicis bought a 70% stake in Canada's seventh biggest agency, BCP Canada of Montreal. Publicis already has offices in New York and Dallas.

Ivan Chong, chairman and CEO of Eureka, says: "We are eager to put our history of creative excellence to work for global advertisers and continue to develop solid relationships with clients in Singapore as well as abroad. While retaining local management, we are proud to add the Publicis name to our own to form Publicis-Eureka." Publicis' clients include Nestle, Renault, L'Oreal and Coca-Cola.

Maurice Levy, chairman and CEO of the Publicis Group, says of its Singapore acquisition: "Singapore represents a fast-growing market for the advertising industry and our research within the region convinced us that Ivan Chong and his team are our best partner."

Copyright January 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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