Havas takes stake in multicultural agency República

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República Havas: Luis Casamayor, Jorge A. Plasencia, Paul Marobella.
República Havas: Luis Casamayor, Jorge A. Plasencia, Paul Marobella.  Credit: Seth Browarnik, República Havas

One of the largest independent Hispanic agencies in the U.S. is independent no more: República has sold a stake to Havas and will be renamed República Havas.

Havas would not disclose terms of the deal, but did note the stake was significant enough to merit changing República's name. As part of the deal, República is becoming part of the Havas Creative network in North America.

Miami-based Republica was founded in 2006 by Chairman and CEO Jorge Plasencia and president Luis Casamayor. It offers advertising, strategy, PR, social, digital, media buying and media planning services.

The agency posted 2017 revenue in the U.S. of about $21.3 million, making it the seventh largest Hispanic-American agency in the U.S., behind Publicis' Conill, Omnicom's Alma, Publicis' The Community and others, according to Ad Age Datacenter. Its clients include Toyota, Google and NBCUniversal Telemundo.

Paul Marobella, CEO and chairman for Havas Creative in North America, said Havas as been doing some multicultural work through its general market agencies, but wanted to amp up that expertise as part of its growth plan in the U.S. The network did not previously own a dedicated multicultural agency.

Marobella said República and its people are also embedded in the fabric of Latino culture. In fact, the Havas executive said that he was driving to dinner with Plasencia last week, Plasencia called Emilio Estefan to tell him the acquisition news (and scored Marobella an invite to Gloria and Emilio Estefan's upcoming 40th anniversary party).

Plasencia said the agency, which now has about 120 employees, has been courted by potential suitors in past years, including holding companies, private equity firms and "even one of the big entertainment conglomerates."

"We would always listen, but it never felt right," he said. "That really changed with Havas."

The agency will keep its Coral Way office in Miami and plans to open up shop in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

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