*French Ad Firm to Buy Snyder for $2.1 Billion

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European marketing giant Havas Advertising, Levallois, France, yesterday said it agreed to acquire Snyder Communications in an all-stock transaction valued at about $2.1 billion. Snyder, parent of traditional advertising agency Arnold Communications, direct marketing specialist Brann Worldwide, marketing services provider Bounty SCA and Internet services provider Circle.com, reported in December that it had hired an investment banking company to evaluate "strategic alternatives" for the company.

Havas, which also owns advertising agency Euro RSCG Worldwide, said the acquisition will make it the fourth largest advertising communication agency in the world and will significantly increase its North American presence.

Under the terms of the agreement, which is subject to shareholder and antitrust approvals, Snyder shareholders will receive American Depository Receipts representing Havas common shares valued at $29.50 for each share of Snyder stock that they own, giving them a 30-percent stake in the expanded Havas company.

Havas said that Arnold Communications, Boston, will become the lead agency of its Campus division. Bounty SCA Worldwide, Glenview, IL, which specializes in tracking and providing targeted communications to consumers through various media, will become part of Euro RSCG. Brann Worldwide and Circle.com will become part of Havas's Diversified Agencies Group, and Circle.com will continue to have an independent tracking stock.

Snyder chairman/CEO Daniel Snyder, who together with other members of management owns about 30 percent of Snyder, founded the company 13 years ago as a direct marketing firm targeting college students.

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