to its magazine ads
[detroit] General Motors Corp. made more cuts from its magazine roster from June to year's end. Executives close to the matter said magazines cut include Martha Stewart Living, Smithsonian, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Outside and publisher Ziff Davis, all of which either declined to comment or didn't return calls by press time. GM, one of the biggest magazine advertisers, cut Conde Nast Publications in early March (AA, March 12). Dennis Donlin, president of Bcom3 Group's GM Planworks, said Planworks and Interpublic Group of Cos.' GM Mediaworks worked together. GM didn't return calls seeking comment.
IVillage buys control
[new york] IVillage bought majority control of its Substance.com beauty care joint venture with Unilever. Both sides said the move will simplify iVillage's operations. Substance.com launched March 30 as a revamped version of iVillage's beauty channel. The women-oriented portal bought 30% of what had been a 50-50 joint venture for $1.5 million, according to an executive close to the matter. The deal values the site at around $5 million-far from the $200 million value cited when the deal was announced in February 2000, but in line with plummeting valuations of online media firms. Since the venture was set, iVillage's market capitalization has slid 96% to $19.5 million.
Divine intervention for MarchFirst
[chicago] Software company Divine said late March 30 it agreed to buy some substantial assets owned by ailing Web consulting and design firm MarchFirst. The announcement confirms the deal reported March 29 on AdAge.com. (See AdAge.com for more on this story.)
Divine acquired no debt and $130 million in receivables, and will take on roughly 2,100 of MarchFirst's 7,000 employees. The total value of the deal is $10 million in cash and a $60 million balloon payment due in five years.
The sale of other MarchFirst assets, including ad agency McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C., is expected soon. Paris-based Havas Advertising is expected to finalize a deal to buy McKinney within a few weeks, according to an individual close to the situation. Executives from MarchFirst and Havas declined to comment. Shares of MarchFirst closed at 14 cents March 30, down 2 cents on the day and 99.7 % off their 52-week high. Divine shares closed at $1.62, up 17 cents and 87% off their 52-week high.
`Rosie' ready for stands; crime mag shelved
[new york] Rosie, the relaunch of Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing's McCall's magazine overseen by talk show host Rosie O'Donnell, hits newsstands April 3. A few weeks ago, negotiations between G&J and executives from the NBC series "Law & Order" broke down before an agreement was reached on a proposed magazine associated with the hit show. For more on this item, go to AdAge.com.
Phase2Media, Oxygen, lay off staff
[new york] Online ad sales firm Phase2Media and female-focused media company Oxygen Media laid off staff last week. Phase2Media said it will let go 40 people, or 30% of its staff. Separately, Oxygen laid off 35 employees in its online unit. It's the second round of cuts in recent months at Oxygen, which let go 10% of its Web staff in December.
Warner Bros. unit pulls out of NATPE
[los angeles] Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution has decided to pull out of the NATPE convention, Electronic Media reports in today's issue. The company, which has had one of the biggest booths at the annual gathering of the National Association of Television Programming Executives, instead will pay for a hospitality suite at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas while NATPE convenes at the Las Vegas Convention Center in January. Warner Bros. will shuttle attendees between the Convention Center and the Venetian.
Dick Robertson, president of the Warner Bros. unit, has long been critical of NATPE, previously calling it a "schmoozefest." He said the move should save the company $1.5 million annually. Warner Bros. has made hotel plans to coincide with the NATPE convention through 2005.
While Warner Bros.' domestic TV sales force and media sales force will move off the convention floor, other AOL Time Warner units are expected to continue to rent space at NATPE.
Interpublic spent $1.6 bil on acquisitions
[new york] Interpublic Group of Cos. paid $500 million in cash and issued 26.8 million shares of its common stock to acquire 77 companies last year, according to its annual report, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Interpublic paid a total of $1.6 billion for its acquisitions in 2000. The company also revealed its five largest clients based on revenue last year were General Motors Corp., Nestle, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and Coca-Cola Co. Combined, they accounted for about 15% of Interpublic's revenue.
Michelin keeps baby; Goodyear to pick agency
[greenville, n.c.] Michelin North America, now in a review for its $35 million tire account, denied it wants its new agency to stop using a baby in its ads. Incumbent Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, New York, breaks a new baby spot later this month. Separately, rival Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is expected to name its new agency this week.
Schieffelin & Somerset Co.'s Grand Marnier is dropping Interpublic's Deutsch, New York, which has handled media duties on the $3.6 million account since 1999. ... The Washington Post is conducting a review. The paper spent some $6.6 million last year in measured media, per Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. ... General Motors Corp.'s Buick breaks a campaign in mid-April from Interpublic's McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Troy, Mich. ... Amazon.com is not expected to wrap the review for its $50 million global account for a few weeks. Finalists are Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., and Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett, Chicago. ... Nordic Beverage said it's rolling out the country's priciest vodka, Christiania. It will sell for about $35. Nordic said it would spend about $2.5 million in advertising its first year. Clear Ink, Walnut Creek, Calif., handles. ... BMW of North America signed up five famous directors to create short films for its new Web site, slated to go live April 26. Publicis Groupe's Fallon, Minneapolis, collaborated.