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Communications industry mergers and acquisitions broke the $100 billion mark in 1996, even though ad agency deals dropped 86.8%. Holding companies Omnicom Group and Interpublic Goup of Cos. made many of the agency deals, which included public relations and direct marketing shops.

Veronis, Suhler & Associates reported that ad agency acquisitions slowed to $44.8 million last year, down from a high of $338.9 million in 1993.

Veronis counted 524 mergers in the communications world, down 40.3%, but their total value represented a record $113 billion.

A majority of the deals, 71%, came from the TV and radio industries, with transactions hitting $47.6 billion. Deals in the magazine business last year totaled more than $700 million, a rebound from 1995's $514 million, just more

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