[toronto] Envoy Communications Group is close to finalizing the acquisition of Leagas Delaney, a London-based agency with billings of $526 million and offices in Hamburg, Paris, Rome and San Francisco. Publicly traded Envoy purchased New York shop Hampel/Stefanides in 1998. Last month, Envoy hired Merrill Lynch & Co. as a financial adviser to facilitate its global acquisition strategy. Envoy has some Adidas-Salomon business in Canada, while Leagas handles the client in Europe and the U.S.
Sears wins legal skirmish; Focus Media suit continues
[los angeles] Sears, Roebuck & Co. has won the latest battle in its lawsuit against Focus Media. On Oct. 27, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge approved a "motion for relief from the automatic stay," which gives Sears the right to continue its lawsuit against Focus Media, its former media buying company. On Oct. 6, ABC, NBC and Paxson Communications filed a motion to force involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy against Focus Media, which would have derailed Sears' lawsuit. Collectively, the networks are owed $4 million from Focus Media. Analysts speculated Sears could be owed as much as $40 million.
Orange Fanta returns to U.S.
[atlanta] Coca-Cola Co. this month will re-introduce orange Fanta to the U.S. after a six-year absence, concentrating first on markets in the Southwest and Northeast. The target is Hispanic mothers with children under 18; advertising is expected to follow early next year. In the past, Coca-Cola has worked with Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York, on Fanta. Coca-Cola, which also markets Minute Maid orange soft drink, said targets for the two beverages are different, with Minute Maid appealing more to teens. Fanta, marketed outside the U.S., is the company's No. 2 seller after Coca-Cola.
Investment group buys DVC Group
[chicago] Lake Capital today will announce it is acquiring DVC Group, Morristown, N.J., in partnership with Frontenac Co., Chicago, and a group of private investors. The holding company said it plans to invest more than $100 million to buy the marketing services agency as well as other agencies, creating an international network to be called DVC Worldwide. DVC currently has shops specializing in marketing communications, healthcare and technology consulting.
MindShare wins Carfax media account
[southfield, mich.] Carfax awarded its estimated $20 million media buying and planning account to MindShare, New York. The media account was previously handled by the Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., which continues as Carfax's creative agency. Carfax, a unit of R.L. Polk & Co., traces the history of used vehicles for potential buyers.
Lockheed looks for shop to boost image
[bethesda, md.] Lockheed Martin is looking for a shop to help overhaul its image, an executive familiar with the situation said. The aerospace giant, however, is not seeking an advertising agency, a company spokesman said, and will remain with agency of record DDB Worldwide, New York. The defense contractor has signaled it plans to focus on using its technology to develop more commercial business as it seeks new revenue streams.
Viacom acquires BET cable network
[new york] Viacom, owner of MTV Networks, agreed last week to purchase BET Holdings II, parent of cable network Black Entertainment Network, for $3 billion in Viacom stock and assumption of debt. BET Chairman-CEO Robert L. Johnson will retain those titles, reporting to Mel Karmazin, president-chief operating officer of Viacom.
Ralston taps R&M for Whisker Lickin's
[st. louis] Ralston Purina Co. selected Robinson & Maites, Chicago, to develop a yearlong promotional marketing campaign for its Whisker Lickin's brand cat treats. The push will include in-store merchandise promotions, free-standing inserts and direct marketing. Robinson & Maites has worked with the brand on a project basis in the past. Spending was not disclosed.
Ogilvy & Mather closes Dallas outpost
[new york] Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide plans to shutter its Dallas office at yearend. The branch was opened in 1997 when the agency won GTE's $100 million account for creative and media. Parker Ransom, a senior partner and managing director of the office, said the office is being closed because it will not be doing work for Verizon, formed by the merger of GTE and Bell Atlantic Corp. Verizon currently is conducting a media and regional creative account review.
Beyond Interactive wins Photopoint.com
[san francisco] Online photo-sharing company PhotoPoint Corp. tapped Beyond Interactive, a unit of Grey Global Group, for its $1 million to $2 million interactive advertising account. Photopoint.com, the No. 1 photography site in September with 1.725 million unique visitors according to Media Metrix, provides free photo storage and sharing to more than 1 million members. It selected Beyond Interactive to handle media buying and planning as well as creative after an informal review of five agencies conducted in-house.
Revlon hired Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York, to handle the launch of Skinlights Face Illuminators, a line of products due in stores in January. Agency executives said the assignment is not a conflict with the $40 million account of Andrew Jergens Co.'s Biore brand, which Kirshenbaum won last year. . . . Anheuser-Busch Cos. is believed to be pulling its Rhumba rum-flavor beer from test markets in Florida. . . . Ikea North America cut its list of 20-plus review contenders to six or seven, said executives close to the situation. Previous agency Deutsch, New York, is not participating in the review. Pile & Co., Boston, is the consultant. . . . Steve Vranakis to interactive creative director, FCB Worldwide, San Francisco, a new position, from WCRS, London, where he had the same title. . . . Sally Koslow, editor in chief of Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing's McCall's, will leave the women's title after closing its February issue to become corporate editor-new business development for Gruner & Jahr. Susan Ungaro, editor in chief of Family Circle, will have editorial oversight over McCall's beginning with the April issue.