Leap Group Expands

By Trevor Jensen

CHICAGO–The Leap Group attained global reach in one step last week with the purchase of Y A R Communications in New York for $20 million.

Y A R is a full-service agency that creates and adapts ads for a multitude of ethnicities in the U.S. and abroad. The agency’s billings for last year reportedly totaled nearly $200 million; revenues were $18.5 million.

Leap officials said Y A R’s technical abilities, as well as its presence beyond U.S. borders, made it an attractive purchase. ‘It’s an efficient way for us to be effective globally,’ said R. Steve Lutterbach, Leap’s chairman and chief executive officer.

The Leap Group, publicly traded parent company of The Leap Partnership agency in Chicago and Los Angeles, raised close to $40 million last year through an initial public offering, which has helped fund the opening of the West Coast office and now the purchase of Y A R.

Y A R has offices in San Fran-cisco, Chicago and Moscow and is planning on expansion into the Ukraine, Japan and Latin America, said Yuri Radzievsky, president and chief executive officer of the agency. Y A R’s clients include Western Union, American Airlines and AT&T.

Radzievsky and his wife and partner, Anna, along with other key Y A R employees, also received options on one million shares of Leap Group common stock under the purchase agreement. The Radzievskys will remain in charge at Y A R, which becomes a subsidiary of The Leap Group.

The Radzievskys started their agency in 1975, adapting ads for different ethnic groups. Y A R was made part of Ogilvy & Mather in 1981, purchased in 1990 and owned for a short time by British media baron Robert Maxwell. After Maxwell died, the shop was returned to Radzievsky control.

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