Publicis acquires own agencies in Latin America

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PARIS -- Publicis Group has taken its first steps into Latin America with two agency acquisitions. In the past Publicis has relied on a global alliance (which recently expired) with True North Communications to service its clients in Latin America. The acquisitions indicate that Publicis isn't relying on the True North alliance to be revived.

Publicis, which is Europe's largest network, announced on August 19 that it has acquired a 60% controlling interest in Norton Publicidade, one of Brazil's biggest agencies. Over the weekend Publicis bought a 51% stake in the Mexican Romero Y Asociados.

The move is the first since Publicis and True North decided in March to end their agreement to work together around the world. Maurice Levy, chairman and ceo of Publicis points to the "great potential" in the Latin American advertising markets.

Norton was founded in 1946 and is today Brazil's 12th biggest ad agency with billings of $95m. Its staff of 160 are in offices in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janerio and Brasilia. Its clients include Nestle, Alpargatas, Rayovac batteries, the Brazilian Postal Service, General Electric, Sul America Seguros and Wal-Mart.

Romero Y Asociados has 45 years' experience of the Mexican ad industry. Its long-standing clients of over a decade include Nestle, Kimberly Clark and Reckitt & Colman.

Publicis achieved record billings of $4.1bn in 1995. Its client list includes Nestle, plus Coca-Cola, British Airways, Sara Lee/Dim and Shell.

Copyright July 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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