Publicis in talks to buy U.S. agency Nelson

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PARIS--France's Publicis Groupe is negotiating the acquisition of leading U.S.-based medical marketer Nelson Communications, New York.

A Publicis source confirmed published reports that the Paris-based group is hold-ing discussions with Nelson, but refused to comment on any aspect of the ongoing talks.

Publicis Chairman-CEO Maurice Levy's courtship of Nelson can be seen as part of his wider strategy to boost revenues in the U.S. and increase the importance of marketing services revenues at Publicis, the world's fifth largest consolidated ad group. Marketing services currently comprise about 23% of Publicis' global revenues, a figure Mr. Levy has projected will hit 30% by 2002.

Nelson Communications, one of the world's largest independently owned health care marketing services firms, is therefore an ideal acquisition target. The company's 200-strong client list is a who's who of the global pharmaceuticals industry. Its services range from traditional brand manage-ment and sales promotion to more specialized medical consultancy and patient outreach operations, plus new product launches.

Copyright October 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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