CIA completes European network

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LONDON -- Europe's second largest independent media buyer, London-based CIA Group, is filling in a Scandinavian gap in its European agency chain CIA Medianetwork with the acquisition of media specialist MarMedia Group.

The MarMedia Group, whose agencies principally trade as Media Marketing Group, is one of the largest media specialists in the region. Including joint ventures, it employs 148 people in five offices in Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

In Sweden, Media Marketing Group claims market leadership with billings of $288m and a 33% market share. The group also includes 50% of a Norwegian operation with billings of $112m, which places it third in the market with a 21% share. The CIA Group will buy this stake and the other 50%. There is also a small joint venture in Denmark with billings of $14m.

The key agencies are to be rebranded as CIA Medianetwork and the conditional acquisition will take CIA Group's total billings to at least $2.2bn in 1997. The purchase is conditional on a placing of shares to raise $27m net.

CIA Group is paying a minimum of $35m and a maximum of $47m in cash and shares. The vendors will take about 50% of their payment in equity.

CIA Group and MarMedia Group have been trading together on an affiliate basis for several years and share several clients, including Shell and Calvin Klein Cosmetics.

Clients of the Scandinavian business also include Hennes & Mauritz, IKEA, SAS, Nestle, NKL and Toyota. These will join CIA Medianetwork clients such as DHL, Microsoft, Nike, Unilever and Wrigley.

"We have now substantially completed our European network, enabling us to meet client demand by offering an integrated media planning and buying service across Europe. We already head an infrastructure in place on which to build a larger group, so this deal will provide real economies of scale," says CIA Group Chairman Chris Ingram.

Copyright May 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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