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Young & Rubicam has agreed to buy Waring & LaRosa, a New York agency whose prize account is $50 million in Fisher-Price billings.

The acquisition-for an estimated $8 million-is the first for Y&R since 1989, though it owns interests in a number of smaller U.S. agencies. It extends a frenzied year of industry mergers and acquisitions fueled primarily by smaller agencies seeking international resources.

In buying Waring, Y&R executives said they're more interested in gaining expertise in the toy category than growth for growth's sake.

"We're certainly interested in the Fisher-Price business," said Ed Vick, chairman-CEO, Y&R Advertising. "We intend to build on W&L's strengths... to create a world-class family and youth-marketing capability."


Waring will operate as a free-standing agency and retain current management. There are no client conflicts, Mr. Vick said.

Founded in 1968, the agency was sold to BBDO Worldwide in 1983 but repurchased by co-CEOs Saul Waring and Joseph LaRosa and top management five years later. It had $11.9 million in gross income last year on billings of $105 million.

Besides Fisher-Price-a client since 1969-key accounts include Conde Nast Publications, Perrier Group and Sunshine Biscuits.

"Y&R's tremendous global network will bring strength to our clients who are growing internationally," Mr. Waring said. Fisher-Price, owned by Mattel, uses various other agencies overseas; joining Y&R will give Waring the chance to compete for that business, he added.

Both Y&R and Lord, Dentsu & Partners, New York, 50% owned by Y&R, share Perrier as a client with Waring. Y&R recently sold its 50% stake in Lord Dentsu's Los Angeles office.

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