Snyder buys fifth European company

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BETHESDA, MD - Snyder Communications bought its fifth European company within the last year in March, spending $43 million for Publimed Promotions SA, a leading French outsourced pharmaceutical sales and marketing service.

Since the company bought Brann Holding in March of last year Snyder has spent "a little over $200 million" on foreign acquisitions, buying four companies in the UK and now one in France, according to CFO Clay Perfall.

It also has a small operation in Hungary, a subsidiary of one of the British companies - the Rapid Deployment Group - bought last year.

Nor is this the end of Snyder's appetite for new acquisitions abroad. "Germany is on our list," Perfall said, "and we are in active discussions with various German companies even as we speak."

The company also has a joint venture with a Saudi Arabian partner to service the needs of mothers and babies in Egypt, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.

Those countries may be poor, Perfall conceded, but they have big populations and "we're looking to target the top 25 percent of people who are capable of buying those products," Perfall said.

"Our focus is to look at our global clients, companies like Proctor & Gamble, Bristol Myers, Squibb and E.I. Lilly. They are global and want to be served everywhere they are and if you offer quality you will be used everywhere."

The addition of Publimed to the Snyder combine boosts the number of pharmaceutical sales representatives in the US, the UK, Hungary and France to nearly 4,000. The company now provides pharmaceutical sales and marketing services to 16 of the world's top 20 pharmaceutical firms.

France is the world's 4th largest pharmaceutical market, CEO Daniel Snyder pointed out, and purchase of Publimed gives Snyder 925 sales and marketing professionals in that country.

Snyder Communications, Perfall explained, divides into four major services - a medical group, media sampling, direct services and data delivery. The European acquisitions cover all of them.

The medical group targets the pharmaceutical industry for whom it conducts contract sales operations. Publimed makes Snyder No. 1 in that market. It is number 2 in the UK.

Media sampling involves bringing product to target groups. Bounty, one of the group's British companies, delivers boxes of product samples to new mothers and reaches 94 percent of all new mothers in the UK, Perfall said.

"We do the same thing in the US. Our product sampling targets health groups as well as college and high school kids. We are replicating that in the UK and in the Middle East."

Direct services are exemplified by Brann Holdings, Synder's first British acquisition and a leading UK DM company, and Blau and Arnold Communications, part of Snyder's US buying spree.

"They create and implement direct marketing campaigns for our clients," Perfall said, "and give us a commanding presence in this area in both the UK and the US but not yet in continental Europe. We will be there soon."

Data delivery does database compilation and database management. "We compile lists or proprietary databases of high school and college students, new and expectant parents, and target health group."

Snyder tends to buy well managed companies that are operated on a decentralized mode. "We bring them and other companies in the group together so that they can cross sell.

"A client of Bounty, for example, can work with all the other companies in the group that have service offerings and that allows to bring in fully integrated product offerings."

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