INTERPUBLIC, MACMANUS RUMORED IN MERGER TALKS

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[new york] The ad industry late last week was abuzz over a possible pairing of Interpublic Group of Cos. and MacManus Group. That would be the first such merger since Procter & Gamble Co. loosened its policy on account conflicts at its agencies. While both sides denied serious talks, one Interpublic board member said the company is eyeing various acquisition targets, including MacManus. Interpublic's New York-based Ammirati Puris Lintas and Gotham handle Unilever work, while MacManus' D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, does work for P&G.

Glaxo consolidates

DTC media at Media Edge

[research triangle park, n.c.] Glaxo Wellcome has consolidated its $150 million to $200 million direct-to-consumer media buying and planning account at the Media Edge, New York. The decision follows a four-month review. Media Edge, a unit of Young & Rubicam, had handled buying for Glaxo, while planning was split among at least four agencies. In a related move, Glaxo shifted its direct-response media assignment to Media Direct Partners, New York, a unit of Interpublic Group of Cos. Wunderman Cato Johnson, New York, another Y&R unit, had handled.

CEO candidates

line up at Hachette

[new york] Hachette Filipacchi Media President Gerald Roquemaurel is scheduled to meet with outside candidates this week to replace departing Hachette Filipacchi Magazines President-CEO David Pecker. Rumored to be on the short list: Reader's Digest Association VP Greg Coleman, American Express Publishing Corp. President-CEO Dan Brewster, and Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing President-CEO John Heins. The leading in-house contender is said to be VP-Chief Operating Officer John Fennell.

Heinz delivers $30 mil

account to Burnett

[pittsburgh] H.J. Heinz Co. has awarded Leo Burnett Co., Chicago, its $25 million to $30 million global convenience meals business encompassing pasta, beans and soups. Also competing for the convenience-meals business, formerly handled by local agencies, were: Bates Worldwide; Foote, Cone & Belding; and J. Walter Thompson Co., all New York.

Columbia TriStar

bids for Cox's Rysher

[atlanta] Cox Enterprises is entertaining another suitor for its Rysher Entertainment: Columbia TriStar Television Distribution, a unit of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Executives familiar with the negotiations said Rysher employees are weary over Cox's longtime efforts to sell the company, which has yielded interest from Paramount Pictures, TV producer David Salzman and others. Cox is still looking to pull in $400 million to $500 million from the sale.

America West starts

$15 mil campaign

[tempe, ariz.] America West Airlines launches an estimated $10 million to $15 million national TV and print campaign next month. Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco, created the ads.

DDB Needham lays off

21 in Chicago office

[chicago] DDB Needham Worldwide late last week laid off 21 staffers or 3% of its Windy City work force "to bring our resources in line with revenues," according to a spokeswoman. She said the decision wasn't due to the agency's loss of the Discover Card business, which went to Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, the same week. The cuts were across the board, leaving untouched only the strategic planning department. Among staffers laid off was Group Creative Director Nancy Rice, a founder of the Minneapolis shop originally named Fallon McElligott Rice.

Deutsch drops Foot Locker

account over low spending

[new york] Deutsch has resigned Venator Group's Foot Locker account due to spending issues. The Foot Locker accounts-which include Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker and Kids Foot Locker-were estimated at $40 million when they were consolidated at Deutsch last summer, but executives close to the situation said spending had been far below that level.

Pepsi drops Josta soda,

will focus efforts on Pepsi One

[purchase, n.y.] Pepsi-Cola Co. told bottlers last week it will stop selling its 2-year-old Josta soda brand at the end of this month. A Pepsi spokesman said the company sees potential for such niche beverages, but plans to concentrate instead on major brands such as Pepsi One, its new diet cola entry. Josta, a caffeinated soda with trendy guarana berry flavoring, was supported with $5 million in media spending since its launch, primarily outdoor, spot TV and network cable, according to Competitive Media Reporting. BBDO Worldwide, New York, handled.

F.Y.I.

Danny Gregory to chief creative officer, Doremus & Co., New York, a new position, from a group creative director and partner, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. . . . PeopleSoft named Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners/West, San Francisco, to handle the software company's $15 million account. Finalists were Citron Haligman Bedecarre Euro RSCG and Y&R Advertising, both San Francisco. Saatchi & Saatchi, San Francisco, is the previous agency. . . . Omnicom Group, New York, plans to acquire Zimmerman & Partners, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Zimmerman will work with Omnicom's TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., on Nissan North America's dealer account, according to an executive close to the deal. Dealers have complained to Nissan TBWA's regional ads aren't retail focused. All agencies declined comment. Zimmerman lost Mitsubishi dealer work in 1998. . . . Gordon Munroe, 45, to president, J. Walter Thompson West, San Francisco, a new position, from CEO-western operations, BBDO Canada, Vancouver. Also: John Geoghegan, 41, general manager of the San Francisco office, left to become CEO of CareGuide.com, an online startup that matches providers of child and elder

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