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Publicis will use Digitas move to extend global reach

LONDON - Maurice Levy, chairman and chief executive of Publicis Groupe, has said he intends to 'own' the digital advertising sector after the completion of the Digitas deal, and has indicated that his ambitions for acquisition will stretch to digital companies in fast-growing territories including China, India and Eastern Europe.

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According to reports, he has drawn up plans with David Kenny, the Digitas chairman and chief executive, to make Publicis "a global leader" in the digital space through these acquisitions.

Levy said: "Our enhanced positioning in the digital marketplace and our leadership position in interactive communications will be extremely valuable for our clients, and will be a powerful growth engine for the entire group in the years ahead."

At midnight on Wednesday, Publicis Groupe announced it had successfully acquired 94.4% of the stock of digital full-service agency Digitas, taking its goal of acquiring the entire group a step closer. Digitas is the holding company for DM and digital firm Digitas, Modem Media and the Medical Broadcasting Company.

The initial period of the offer expired at midnight on Wednesday. Publicis said that all shares that were validly tendered and not withdrawn have been accepted for purchase.

Publicis will provide a subsequent offering period, which will expire at midnight, Eastern Standard Time, on Monday, January 29 2007, unless further extended. During this subsequent offering period, Digitas stockholders who did not previously tender their shares into the offer may do so and will receive the same $13 a share offer of those who have already accepted the deal.

Levy said: "I want to thank all of the teams who have made this such a successful and swift operation. Because of the friendly and cooperative spirit of this transaction, we look forward to a very seamless integration of Digitas. We welcome David Kenny and the talented teams into the Publicis Groupe family."

Kenny said: "The Digitas teams have all been impressed by the care taken by Maurice Levy and his teams to make us all feel welcome. We are excited about the new opportunities this transaction will offer to our clients through the rich resources of Publicis Groupe, and we are incredibly excited about joining the group and the opportunity it gives Digitas to deploy our capabilities on a global scale."

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