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French investor Vincent Bollore said he will continue to buy more shares in advertising holding company Havas but is not seeking control of the company. His investment firm, Bollore Investissement, currently holds more than 10% of Havas. Mr. Bollore, who has been acquiring shares in Havas since last summer, is required by French law to state his intentions at certain intervals, depending upon the percentage of shares he holds. Havas' management has offered Mr. Bollore-who was critical of its bid to acquire Grey Global Group-two seats on the board of directors. Havas also announced a $495 million stock offering; the proceeds will be used to repay outstanding convertible bonds that mature in January. 2006. Havas is seeking to refinance the bonds-issued in 2000, when the company's stock was trading at more than four times the current price-as part of its restructuring efforts.

E! exec will push Comcast cable ads

Dave Cassaro will bring a new focus on advertising sales across all of Comcast Corp.'s cable networks after being promoted to president of Comcast Network Advertising Sales. The position has been created to oversee ad sales for all Comcast's national networks which include E!Entertainment (part owned with Walt Disney Co.), The Style Network, G4techTV, International Channel Networks and Outdoor Life Network. Mr. Cassaro, 52, will report to Amy L. Banse, exec VP of Comcast's Programming Investments division. He begins his new position on Jan. 1, 2005. Mr. Cassaro, formerly senior VP-sales and distribution for E! Entertainment, has also worked at Fox Broadcasting Co., CBS Television Network and ABC TV Network.

Janet's peep show costs CBS half-mil

CBS faces $550,000 in fines for "willfully broadcasting indecent material during the Feb. 1, 2004 Super Bowl," according to a ruling from the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC announced it plans to fine the Viacom network and its stations the maximum fine for violating broadcast indecency standards by broadcasting singer Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during the halftime show. In the statement the FCC claimed that Viacom/CBS had planned and approved the telecast and had a history of indecency violations. In a statement, CBS denied its employees had advance notice of the stunt and said the network is "reviewing all of our options to respond to the ruling."

Larry Weber looking to buy

Former Weber Shandwick executive Lawrence Weber will seek out acquisitions among technology marketing companies as part of his new venture, W2 Group. Mr. Weber launched the group with the acquisition of Racepoint Group, a public relations firm focused on technology, health and science and the launch of Digital Influence Group, a "constituency management " company focused on measuring marketing communications via digital channels such as Web logs and wireless communications. W2 Group, based in Waltham, Mass., also plans to build and acquire additional companies.

Web advertising will top $9B in '04

Internet advertising revenue is on track to pass the $9 billion mark this year, after growing to $2.4 billion for the second quarter, a 43% increase from the year-ago period, according to a study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Revenue for the first six months of this year increased to $4.6 billion-a 40% spike over the first half of 2003. Greg Stuart, president and CEO of the IAB, noted revenue has hit $7 billion for the year to date and at this rate will pass $9 billion for the year. The study, which represents data from all companies that report meaningful online ad information, also showed that consumer-related advertisers led the way in online advertising spending, accounting for nearly 50% of total revenue. Following consumer, the top four advertising categories are computing, financial services, media and phamaceuticals and health care. Adage QwikFIND aap98u.

FYI ...

A spokeswoman for Interstate Bakeries said marketing plans won't be affected by the bankruptcy filing of the maker of Wonder Bread and Hostess Twinkies. The company filed for Chapter 11 protection last week. Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis handles. ... The American Legacy Foundation will follow a real-life smoker as part of its new advertising campaign from GSD&M, Austin, Texas. The effort, called "Mary Quits," will feature TV ads and a Web site, maryquits.com, following Washington, D.C., resident Tonya Guess as she tries to quit smoking.

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