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[TORONTO] MDC Corp. will buy back the 26% of Maxxcom it doesn't own, a move aimed at giving the Canadian holding company capital to fund a fresh agency acquisition push. Maxxcom is majority owner of Margeotes/Fertitta & Partners, New York, and owns 49% of Miami hot shop Crispin Porter & Bogusky. MDC spun out a 26% stake through an initial public offering in March 2000 near the peak of the market. Maxxcom stock crashed 86% from IPO through May 2003; MDC has fared somewhat better, falling 54% in the same period. MDC, with $600 million in revenue, will now reacquire the stake, worth about $18 million based on MDC's June 4 price.

NBC pays record fee, wins '10, '12 Olympics

[new york] General Electric Co.'s NBC, the incumbent U.S. Olympics telecaster, won the broadcast rights to the 2010 Winter Games and 2012 Summer Games for a record $2.2 billion rights fee. NBC, which has no other major sports programming, will pay $820 million for the Winter Games and $1.18 billion for the 2012 Summer Games. In addition, NBC will pay almost $200 million more to become a worldwide Olympic sponsor. NBC already owns the rights to the '04, '06 and '08 Games. Losing bidders: Walt Disney Co.'s ABC and ESPN and News Corp.'s Fox.

McD's boosts breakfast with new McGriddles

[oak brook, Ill.] McGriddles sandwiches, the first new breakfast item at McDonald's since 1999, launch today. The sandwiches, priced from $1.59 to $2.19, are made with maple syrup-sweetened pancakes and offer egg, meat and cheese fillings. TV, radio, print, outdoor, direct and coupons support McGriddles. Spending was not disclosed. Omnicom Group's 's DDB Worldwide, Chicago, handles general market ads and its del Rivero Messianu, Miami, handles Hispanic-targeted ads. Publicis Groupe's Burrell Communications Group, Chicago, handles African-American ads. In-store merchandising and packaging is by Publicis unit Frankel, Chicago.

Marketing VP resigns at Ford's Mazda unit

[Irvine, Calif.] Mazda North American Operations VP-Marketing Kristen Simmons resigned to take a senior marketing post with an undisclosed non-automotive company. No successor was immediately named. Ms. Simmons told Ad Age she did not want to return to Detroit for a routine rotation at another Ford Motor Co. post. She had been with Mazda for four years. Doner, Southfield. Mich., handles Mazda.

Former `GQ' editor remains hospitalized

[new york] At press time, just-retired GQ Editor in Chief Art Cooper remained hospitalized in critical condition after suffering a severe stroke. The June issue, on newsstands now, was the last of Mr. Cooper's 20-year tenure, during which he grew to embody a magazine's brand as few editors do. Mr. Cooper collapsed June 4 at Manhattan's Four Seasons, where he was dining with Rodale's Men's Health Editor in Chief Dave Zinczenko. Mr. Cooper's retirement was announced in February. He was succeeded at Conde Nast Publications' GQ by former Executive Editor Jim Nelson.

Y&R names creatives for new Lincoln team

[dearborn, mich.] WPP Group's Y&R Group, assembling a creative team for Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln and Mercury, named auto ad veterans Bertrand Garbassi, 43, and Lance Paull, 46, co-group creative directors. Mr. Garbassi, 43, was creative director at Havas' Euro RSCG, San Francisco, and Mr. Paull was formerly co-president and executive creative director at Publicis Groupe's Publicis, New York. They report to John Doyle of Y&R Cos., Irvine, Calif., executive creative director on the Lincoln-Mercury business.

VF unveils plans for jeans campaigns

[greensboro, n.c.] VF Corp. is launching One True Fit jeans for women and will bring back Buddy Lee "Man of Action" in ads for its Lee Dungarees line, the company told fashion retailers last week during Market Week in New York. Backed by separate campaigns via Publicis Groupe's Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis, four sexy, aspirational spots for One True Fit break in September on the Emmy Awards telecast. The two-spot buddy-film spoof effort for Lee Dungarees breaks Aug. 4 on national cable. Spending wasn't disclosed.

Subway shoots ads via McCarthy Mambro

[milford, conn.] Subway Restaurants said it tapped McCarthy Mambro Bertino, Boston, for its first TV spot targeting African-Americans. The spot, featuring identical twins named Sherman and Herman Smith and shot last week in New Orleans, highlights the pair's weight-loss story. It's to break in late June or early July. McCarthy Mambro was said to be one of nine shops pitching Subway's estimated $200 million-plus account. The review includes the incumbent, Havas' Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners; Interpublic's Lowe and Deutsch'; and Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, all New York. Also competing are: Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.; Publicis' Fallon, Minneapolis; Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco; and one undisclosed agency, said executives close to the review. Subway declined to comment.


Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. is reviewing shops to consolidate its media planning and buying at one agency, said executives with knowledge of the review. It spent $47 million in measured media in 2002, said TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. Grey Global Group's MediaCom, New York, handles print buying. Planning is handled by various B&W creative shops. ... Talent agencies Creative Artists Agency and sports agent IMG Worldwide said they are forming a joint venture for branded entertainment projects, speaker representation and licensing opportunties. ... Laura McEwen, publisher of Gruner & Jahr USA's YM, was named publishing director of Reader's Digest Association's Reader's Digest and its market-specific extensions. ... As approved by the U.S. House government reform committee, legislation extending the White House youth-anti-drug program requires 77% of its funds to be spent on buying media for anti-drug ads and permits spending on some related PR programs.The measure now goes to the full House for action. ... Mike Fernandez, 33, Pepsi Cola Co. marketing manager for multicultural marketing directed to Hispanics, is leaving to start Latin Factory, New York, an Hispanic entertainment marketing company, with Track Entertainment, New York, which serves the general market. ... Three executives from Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York, Exec VP-Director of New Business Charles Rosen, Associate Creative Director Jason Gaboriau and Director of Business Intelligence Doug Cameron, left to open Amalgamated, New York. ... Amusement park Six Flags hired Roth Associates to evaluate a potential review of the firm's agencies. The company uses Ackerman McQueen, Oklahoma City, and Interpublic's Initiative Media.

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