Initiative Media to open in Australia; follows Carat's arrival

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SYDNEY -- Initiative Media, the Paris-based media buying specialist, will open in Australia in April by absorbing the media departments of Ammirati Puris Lintas in Sydney and Melbourne.

Initiative's media billings in Australia are expected to be about $200 million, derived from such international clients as Adidas, Calvin Klein, Compaq, Johnson & Johnson, Mobil and Nestle.

Both Initiative and APL are owned by the U.S. based Interpublic Group, which also owns a local media buyer, Merchant & Partners.

The move comes a fortnight after international rival media giant Carat moved into Australia with the acquisition of local Halmarick Media. Carat is also rumored to be negotiating with Sydney-based Bray Media.

Philippe-Emmanuel Portois, Initiative's former managing director in Belgium, will head the Australian operation. APL National Media Director Janis Carter and Melbourne Media Director David Hoyle will report to him.

Marie-Jose Forissier, Paris-based CEO of Initiative, says Merchant & Partners will remain a separate business although it works with Initiative on international clients. "Certainly, we shall try to find some synergies with these people," she says.

Copyright March 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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