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Publicis Buys Italian Media Shop

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BOSTON Publicis Groupe's buying spree continued today with the Paris-based holding company's acquisition of Muraglia, Calzolari & Associates, a large independent Italian media shop that claims clients such as Heineken, Parmalat and Vodafone.

The Milan agency will be rebranded MC&A MediaVest and operate as a unit of Publicis' Starcom MediaVest Italy. Starcom's existing Italian operations will continue to operate separately and the units will not be combined.

Marco Muraglia, 46, currently CEO of MC&A, will become CEO of SMG's Italy once the deal closes. Roberto Calzolari, 50, MC&A's current gm, becomes CEO of MC&A MediaVest.

"From our earliest discussions it was clear that we shared a passionate and clear vision for how SMG can make further progress in developing our services in Italy. Marco and Roberto are both very highly respected professionals and we are all looking forward to working with them," said Nick Daly, COO of Starcom MediaVest Group's Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

Muraglia said, "It's very interesting from a professional perspective to enter not only a leading global communication company, but one which has demonstrated a real understanding of the communication environment and can anticipate the dynamics between brands and their consumers, actively putting consumers at the centre of everything they do."

Led by CEO Maurice Lévy, Publicis Groupe has made several strategic acquisitions in recent months, most notably its $1.3 billion acquisition of Boston-based i-shop Digitas, which closed in January. The company has also made smaller buys to shore up its medical marketing and consulting practices.

Financial terms of the MC&A deal were not disclosed.