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(May 31, 2001) PARIS -- France's Publicis Groupe has acquired two public relations and financial communications specialists in the U.S., adding momentum to ongoing efforts to diversify activities away from traditional advertising in the world's largest communications marketplace.

The acquisition of Fabianne Gershon Associates, New York, and the Hudson Stone Group, New York, will boost public relations, financial communications and crisis management capacity at Publicis Dialog, the French group's principal marketing services arm in the U.S.

In keeping with usual practice, Publicis did not disclose the acquisition price, simply noting that the deals will push revenues at Publicis Dialog beyond the $50 million mark in the U.S.

Publicis Chairman-CEO Maurice Levy did note, however, that the French group is pursuing other acquisitions in the U.S., principally in the marketing services and public relations sphere, to compensate for the ongoing slowdown in traditional advertising.

Mr. Levy said that the two New York agencies will form the nucleus of a new strategic and financial communication division within Publicis Dialog, which employs more than 350 people in eight cities across the U.S.

The new division will be headed by Fabianne Gershon, while Gary Fishman, former general manager of the Hudson Stone Group, and Mark Perlgut, president of Publicis Dialog USA, will serve alongside Ms. Gershon on the division's executive committee.

The new division will focus on three key areas: investor relations, public relations and crisis communication, particularly during takeover bids and corporate restructuring, o Ms. Gershon said. -- Lawrence J. Speer

Copyright May 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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