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MPG Combines Digital Media Units

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Havas' Media Planning Group said Tuesday that it plans to merge two of its digital media units, Media Contacts and ArnoldMPG Interactive.

The addition of ArnoldMPG Interactive will give Media Contacts, which has a strong presence in Europe and Latin America, increased clout in the U.S. marketplace, said Media Contacts Worldwide CEO Maria Luisa Francoli, who will retain that role. For now, ArnoldMPG Interactive will operate within Media Contacts under the brand, ArnoldMC.

The new entity will service such clients as Monster.com, Fidelity and Volkswagen from its Boston headquarters and New York, Washington, San Francisco and Chicago offices. No layoffs or office closings are planned as a result of the merger, according to a company representative. Media Contacts parent, New York-based MPG, has an estimated 400 staffers and a client list that includes Reckitt-Benckiser, Orange and McDonald's.

Don Epperson, who became U.S. president of Media Contacts after his Boston shop HookMedia was bought by the MPG unit in May 2001, will continue in that post. David Song, formerly vice president and associate media director of ArnoldMPG Interactive, will keep that title at ArnoldMC.

--Ann M. Mack