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WPP Group completed its purchase of Grey Global Group on March 7, paying $1.75 billion in cash and stock in a package worth $1,154 for each Grey share. Grey Chairman-President-CEO Ed Meyer and family interests received about $165 million cash for their Grey shares plus WPP stock, according to Ad Age's estimate; the next day, Mr. Meyer sold most of his new WPP stock for $204 million. Add in cash for deferred compensation and supplemental pensions ($53.1 million) and a golden parachute ($22.7 million), and Mr. Meyer and his family at midweek had garnered an estimated $445 million in cash from the deal. Factor in the value of stock options and remaining shares, and it appears Mr. Meyer and the family still held about $37 million in WPP stock.

The stock sale wasn't surprising. During the bidding last summer for New York-based Grey, an individual close to the deal said Mr. Meyer, 78, preferred an offer that would allow him to cash out, a logical move for estate planning.

Mr. Meyer's timing could hardly have been better. He struck a deal last September to sell Grey to WPP for $1.52 billion in cash and WPP stock, or $1,005 a Grey share. But WPP stock kept rolling, reaching its highest price on the deal closing date since 2001. With those gains, Grey shareholders ended up getting $1,154 a share. That's 118 times Grey's 1965 initial public offering price. QwikFIND aaq38n, aaq38v

LG consolidates $70M account at BrandBuzz

LG Electronics USA, maker of consumer appliances and devices from refrigerators to mobile phones and flat-panel-display screens has consolidated advertising for all brands sold in North America with BrandBuzz, New York. The consolidation enables BrandBuzz's parent WPP Group to skirt conflicts with its newly won global account, Samsung, now handled by multiple WPPshops, including JWT and Berlin Cameron. It also expands LG's existing relationship with BrandBuzz, which it's had since 2001. LG's business was split among numerous WPP-owned agencies, including Marstellar Advertising, Ogilvy & Mather and JWT. The new responsibilities represent about $70 million in billings. QwikFIND aaq39k

Liquor companies are own worst enemies

The Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., unveiling its first report of enforcement actions created by the 2003 revisions of its advertising code, said competitors rather than the public filed the most complaints about liquor ads reaching underage consumers or using sexually inappropriate themes. DISCUS said the enforcement actions resulted in a number of sex-tinged print and Web ads being withdrawn and several liquor advertisers moving ads appearing in Vibe, which has a young newsstand readership, to subscription-only editions. QwikFIND aaq38o

AAF unveils virtual museum for `Hall of Fame'

The American Advertising Federation launched a dedicated Web site for the Advertising Hall of Fame, (www.advertising that will serve as a virtual museum of past and present inductees. The site will include biographical information on the 170 members, as well as streaming videos featuring career highlights, speeches, community involvement and campaign materials. "We are committed to extending the outreach of the Advertising Hall of Fame, and thereby the accomplishments of these giants of advertising," said Wally Snyder, AAF president-CEO.

J&J targets Hispanic consumers with bus tour

Johnson & Johnson kicks off a 15-brand national Hispanic promotion this week in a 53-foot trailer set up as an interactive tour of the home of a Latino family whose members use J&J health-care brands including Act mouthwash, Acuvue contact lenses, Tylenol, Lifescan for monitoring diabetics' glucose, and Carefree feminine-hygiene products. Starting in Miami, the trailer will cross the U.S. for six months, stopping at Wal Mart stores and Hispanic events. Consumers completing the "Vida Nuestra" ("Our Life") tour, created by AIM-Alternative & Innovative Marketing, San Diego, get product samples and can participate in health assessments.


The Outdoor Advertising Association of America unveiled the contenders for its annual OBIE awards, May 24. A record 70% of submissions came from agencies, said Stephen Frietas, OAAA's chief marketing officer, likely the fruits of a two-year push to raise the visibility of the awards and the medium among creatives. Those up for OBIEs include MDC Partners' Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Publicis' Leo Burnett, the Partnership's Lowe and independent Taxi.

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