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Publicis in the United States, Publicis Group's U.S. division, is entering the fast-growing U.S. Hispanic market with the acquistion of a 49% stake in Sanchez & Levitan, a Miami-based independent agency, and the Dallas and Los Angeles offices of Siboney USA. Siboney, with remaining offices in New York and Miami, is owned by True North Communications, which is being acquired by Interpublic Group of Cos.

The deal puts the new Publicis Sanchez & Levitan agency into three of the key Hispanic markets with plans to staff up in two others -- New York and Chicago -- later this year.

Sanchez & Levitan, ranked 16th among Hispanic advertising agencies by Advertising Age, claims 2000 billings of $40 million. The agency was founded in 1986 by Aida Levitan, who becomes co-chairman-CEO, and Fausto Sanchez, who will be co-chairman and president. The entire four-shop Siboney USA network was ranked 10th by Ad Age.

Publicis Sanchez & Levitan claims combined billings of $80 million from clients including Coca-Cola Co., BellSouth, the Florida Lottery, Groschl beer and Nestle.

Copyright March 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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