Publicis boosts China position with W&K buy

PARIS, Dec 2 (Reuters) - French advertising giant Publicis PUBP.PA on Tuesday announced the latest in a series of acquisitions in China as it looks to boost its presence in fast-growing emerging markets.

It said it was buying advertising agency W&K Communications for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in 2004, the company employs nearly 100 communications specialists split between offices in Beijing and Guangzhou and working in the advertising, promotions, television production and media-buying sectors.

Publicis’ previous acquisitions in China include EmporioAsia in May 2008, CCG in 2007, and Betterway Marketing Solutions and Emotion in 2006.

W&K Communications, whose major clients include Air China 0753.HK, Mengniu Dairy 2319.HK, Yutong Bus 600066.SS and brewer Tsingtao 0168.HK, will be renamed Leo Burnett W&K Beijing Advertising Co, Publicis said.

According to ZenithOptimedia forecasts, Chinese advertising expenditure has more than tripled since 2000.

The Shanghai World Expo in 2010 and the Asian Games are the next major global events expected to stimulate high demand for advertising between 2008 and 2010.

Publicis has a market capitalisation of 3.4 billion euros, having seen its share price decline 34.5 percent this year. At 0802 GMT it was trading 2 percent lower at 17.18 euros.

Reporting by Marcel Michelson; editing by John Stonestreet