Del Rivero will sell a stake to DDB

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Del Rivero Messianu, one of the few remaining independent Hispanic ad agencies, has an agreement in principle to sell a stake to Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide-for the second time.

DDB partly owned the Coral Gables, Fla., agency for two years until a management buyback in 1998, though the two agencies continued to work together on mutual clients such as McDonald's Corp. and State Farm Insurance.

"We've both matured as organizations," said Chief Creative Officer Luis Miguel Messianu. "We can help [DDB] develop Latin America on a panregional basis and U.S. Hispanic."

The new deal leaves only three independent shops- Dieste & Partners, Dallas, La Agencia de Orci & Asociados, Los Angeles, and Zubi Advertising Services, also of Coral Gables-among the top 10 Hispanic ad agencies as the major holding companies rush to build up ethnic-marketing businesses.

Del Rivero still is negotiating how big of a piece to sell DDB.

"As we developed more global business, Latin America became more important," said DDB Worldwide CEO Ken Kaess. Last year, the agency opened a Miami satellite after winning the $100 million global fuels account for ExxonMobil Corp. Del Rivero has worked with DDB on that account.

To boost creative work, DDB has created the post of co-creative directors of Latin America for Erh Ray, VP-creative director of DM9 DDB, Sao Paulo, and Rodrigo Figueroa Reyes, president-creative director of DDB Argentina, Buenos Aires.

Del Rivero is the sixth-largest Hispanic ad agency, with 1999 billings of $68 million. The agency was opened in 1993 by President Eduardo del Rivero and Mr. Messianu, who worked both in their native Mexico and in the U.S. Hispanic market. Their agency, full of bright colors and native icons, looks like a corner of Mexico in Coral Gables. Unusually, the agency combines handling U.S. Hispanic accounts with work in Latin America. In fact, del Rivero will be in charge of the Latin American portion of Exxon Mobil, an international DDB account.

Mr. Messianu estimated that his agency's billings are split about 60% from U.S. Hispanic and 40% from Latin American work.

"We proved to clients there were a lot of synergies between U.S. Hispanic and Latin America," he said. "You have to think about different nationalities with both."

Del Rivero will work closely with DDB's Latin American satellite in Miami. Last year, DDB promoted Eduardo Fernandez Ribeiro, then president of the Slogan DDB agency he founded in his native Uruguay and sold to DDB in 1991, to president of DDB Latin America, now based in Miami.

Contributing: Wendy Davis

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