MS&L, GCI eye Argentine firms for Lat Am presence

BUENOS AIRES: The Argentine PR market shook off its post-Y2K torpor last week, with Manning Selvage & Lee buying one local firm and GCI Group moving in on another.

BUENOS AIRES: The Argentine PR market shook off its post-Y2K torpor last week, with Manning Selvage & Lee buying one local firm and GCI Group moving in on another.

BUENOS AIRES: The Argentine PR market shook off its post-Y2K torpor

last week, with Manning Selvage & Lee buying one local firm and GCI

Group moving in on another.



As a first step toward increasing its Latin American presence, MS&L

acquired a 25% stake in Muchnik, Alurralde, Jasper & Asociados.



Muchnik, chaired by former Ketchum rep Laura Muchnik, is one of the

country’s top 10 firms, boasting annual fee income of dollars 1.5

million. Local sources say that Muchnik is valued at slightly more than

dollars 2 million, indicating MS&L paid in the neighborhood of dollars

500,000 for its 25% share in the firm.



Muchnik was said to have been negotiating potential deals with GCI and

Ogilvy PR prior to cementing the arrangement with MS&L.



While MS&L has affiliates in Mexico and Venezuela, it lags behind the

top multinational firms when it comes to its reach and presence in Latin

America. Prior to the Muchnik deal, the firm’s only presence in

Argentina was through an affiliation agreement with Magis, a small local

PR agency that dissolved in 1999 after its founders collided.



With Muchnik now out of the picture, GCI has reportedly set its sights

on GM Comunicaciones, an agency headed by hi-tech expert Gustavo

Martinez.



GCI is said to be looking for a firm with strong hi-tech and healthcare

practices - two areas in which GM Comunicaciones offers expertise.



While neither firm would give further details about the state of

negotiations, several sources said GCI has almost finalized its nearly

year-long research into the local market and will likely close a deal in

weeks. GCI, which already owns an office in Mexico City and an affiliate

in Sao Paulo, started its agency search in Buenos Aires last April.



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