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Montreal advertising agency Sid Lee sold to Japanese holding company

MONTREAL – Sid Lee has been sold to a Japanese company in a deal intended to expand the Montreal advertising agency’s presence in Asia.

The company announced Monday that it has been acquired by Hakuhodo DY Holdings for an undisclosed price.

Founded in 1993, Sid Lee employs 550 people in six offices, including Toronto, Paris, New York and Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The head office will remain in Montreal and the company’s current leaders have signed long-term agreements with subsidiary kyu, an international portfolio of marketing services companies created in 2014.

“We were looking for the proper way to expand our footprint to Asia while solidly maintaining our headquarters in Montreal,” said executive chairman Bertrand Cesvet.

“Teaming up with such a leading Asian organization will dramatically accelerate our achievement of this goal.”

Cirque du Soleil, which is a minority owner of Sid Lee, will remain a commercial partner and a client, along with Birks, Absolut, Adidas and other brand names.

Sid Lee is also the creator of C2 Montreal, a non-profit business innovation organization that holds an annual event in the city.

The company is the latest independent Quebec ad agency to be sold to Asian buyers.

In December, Quebec City-based Vision7 International — the parent company of ad and public relations agency Cossette — sold a majority stake to China’s BlueFocus Communications.