Western International Media defines focus

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LONDON -- Western International Media, Europe -- the media buying and planning partnership formed in December by Interpublic Group of Cos.-owned The Lowe Group, Initiative Media Worldwide and also Western International Media of the U.S. -- has shifted key management responsibilities in order to expand its operations in Asia and Latin America.

Western-Europe Chief Executive Mike Smallwood is taking on new responsibilities for developing the media joint venture partnership with Western USA, outside Europe. As a result, Smallwood is turning over operational responsibility for the management of Western in continental Europe to Anders Liljeblad. Smallwood will continue to supervise the management of Western's flagship operation in London. Liljeblad joins Western from the Swedish media operation Message Plus Media (a Lowe subsidiary), which he founded in Stockholm in 1993.

"We are well ahead of schedule in our first phase of establishing the Western network across Europe, and the time is right to bring in additional management resource," says Smallwood. "With the expansion of the Lowe network, together with our media partners' growing interest in Asia-Pacific and Latin America, it has become a necessity to concentrate on actively exploring these regions from a media perspective.''

Liljeblad has relocated to London but will continue to oversee operations at Message Plus Media, supervising its integration into Western, which will take place in the near future.

Separately, Western also announced on October 14 its entry into France through a partnership with leading French ad agency Alice, which is part of Lowe & Partners, Europe. The French operation will be managed by Stephane Bodier, previously media director at Alice. The new French arm has a staff of 25 and handles media billings of $76m.

To date, Western has launched its European headquarters in London in March and entered the Netherlands in June by acquiring a minority share in the Amsterdam-based media specialist Media Independent, which was founded in 1993 and has billings of $53m. The partnership has been renamed Western International Media (Netherlands). Western Europe is also at advanced state of negotiations in several other key markets.

Lowe & Partners Worldwide, The Lowe Group's advertising network, was founded in 1981 and is represented in 33 countries worldwide and has billings of $3.6bn. Initiative Media Worldwide is a media company founded in 1975 with headquarters in Paris. It has 36 offices worldwide with billings of $4.3bn. Western International Media Corporation USA is the largest media independent in the U.S. Founded in 1970, it has billings in excess of $4.3bn.

Copyright October 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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