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Saatchi to Employ Semaphore

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Publicis Groupe's Sa atchi & Saatchi has struck a deal to use Bcom3's Semaphore Partners for its interactive needs.

"[They've] made a decision to use us as their North American re source as opposed to an internal company," said Kelly Rodriques, CEO of Semaphore, formerly Novo/Giant Step.

Publicis has agreed to acquire Bcom3 in a $3 billion deal expected to close by September.

The alliance between Saatchi and Sempahore was brokered by Drew Sievers, general manager of Semaphore's Eastern region. Sievers was formerly with Saatchi's interactive marketing department. Discussions began after Publicis announced plans to acquire Bcom3 in early March, Rodriques said.

Saatchi launched a stand-alone interactive marketing unit, Darwin Digital, in 1997. But the unit faltered and was closed in 2000.

Bcom3 merged Giant Step and Novo last year. The unit adopted the name Semaphore in an effort to build a more distinct brand, Rodriques said. The San Francisco-based unit, with offices in New York, Chicago and Detroit, takes its name from a system of communicating via two flags, symbolizing the crossing of cultural and geographic boundaries.

"It's got a level of sophistication and timelessness," Rodriques said of the name.