having agreed to sell the company to a consortium of private-equity firms, VNU's management is now looking to sell the deal to skeptical shareholders. The supervisory and executive boards of the world's largest market-research firm agreed March 8 to sell the company for $10.3 billion in cash and debt assumption to Valcon Acquisition, a consortium of six private-equity firms. But some shareholders have argued the company should instead be broken up and sold in three pieces, with its ACNielsen scanner data and analytics, Nielsen Media Research media measurement and publishing arms each going separately. VNU publishes such titles as Billboard, Hollywood Reporter and Adweek.In a statement, VNU said breaking the company up might yield less than the deal on the table because there are no offers for any of the pieces. AdAge.com QwikFIND aar48s
CBS will renew 14 prime-time programs
cbs cemented its reputation for stability last week when it said it would renew 14 of its prime-time programs. Among the series gaining the go-ahead for future episodes were last season's newcomers "Criminal Minds," "Ghost Whisperer" and "How I Met Your Mother." CBS did not give any news yet on sibling freshman shows "Close to Home" and "Out of Practice." The renewals account for 13 hours of CBS's schedule, which also includes the reality show "The Amazing Race" and a slew of the network's successful procedural dramas, such as "Cold Case," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (and its two spin-offs), "NCIS," "Numbers" and "Without a Trace." Also renewed are the long-lived Sunday news program "60 Minutes," reality blockbuster "Survivor" and the Charlie Sheen sitcom "Two and a Half Men." AdAge.com QwikFIND aar48j
HBO targets women, touts new drama in 31 podcasts
hbo is joining a handful of cutting-edge marketers noodling in the very personal medium of podcasting. The Time Warner unit is out promoting "Big Love," its series about polygamy, via 31 popular podcasts targeting women 25 and over. The podcasts HBO has signed on with are operated by both big media entities-such as the Associated Press-and independently-owned shows like "All You Can Eat," produced by Vancouver-based food enthusiast Don Genova. HBO is hoping a couple hundred thousand people download the podcasts containing its ad. Washington-based Podtrac is working with HBO's interactive shop, Deep Focus, to put together the media plan for HBO and aims to make podcasts a more ad-friendly medium by developing measurement metrics in concert with TNS Media Intelligence and Mediamark. AdAge.com QwikFIND aar48p
Editorial director quits post at LPI Media
judy wieder, the first female editor in chief of The Advocate and now exec VP-editorial director at parent company LPI Media, is leaving March 22. Her departure comes at a time of uncertainty for LPI, which was acquired last November by San Francisco's PlanetOut for about $32 million. Her position is not being filled; instead, editorial operations at The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler and Alyson Books will report to Bob Cohen, LPI's interim president. AdAge.com QwikFIND aar48v
Unilever rolls out Hispanic effort for food brands
unilever is playing on a Latin love of cooking and the surprising dearth of food programs on Spanish-language TV for the company's biggest-ever Hispanic effort for its food brands. "Desafio del Sabor" ("The Flavor Challenge") kicked off last week, starting with a call to submit favorite recipes at storefront events across the country and ending later this year with a televised cook-off on national television. Recipes must include at least one of 10 participating Unilever food brands. Winners from regional events will compete in a cook-off on Spanish-language network Univision. The grand prize: $10,000 cash and a trip to a music awards show. The effort will be backed by TV, radio, print and online advertising, plus public relations, promotions and in-store advertising, a Web site (desafiodelsabor.com) and a giveaway recipe book . The campaign is being handled by Mass Promotions, Miami. AdAge.com QwikFIND aar48t
Aussies: Where the bloody hell are you?
no more genial Paul Hogan style invites to enjoy a shrimp on the barbie. Tourism Australia has come up with a new authentic Aussie tagline for its $20 million, two-and-a-half year North American ad campaign: "Where the bloody hell are you?" Scott Morrison, managing director, Tourism Australia, said Mr. Hogan's line, though part of the American lexicon, succeeded in building up good will for his nation, but the mass reach effort did not tightly connect to those likely to take the 14-hour-plus plane ride to make the trip. The campaign is being handled by M&C Saatchi. AdAge.com QwikFIND aar48x
time inc.'s Fortune magazine hired the New York office of Strawberry Frog to help build its brand among consumers and advertisers; the agency's first work is expected to appear this fall.