Grey to borrow up to $125 mil
Grey Global Group intends to borrow up to $125 million by issuing debt convertible into Grey stock. It will use the money for working capital "and other general corporate purposes, which may include, without limitation, possible acquisitions." Grey said it "has no specific agreements or commitments, and is not currently engaged in any negotiations, regarding any material acquisition." A $100 million debt issue, due in 2033, will be made through a private placement; J.P. Morgan Securities may buy an additional $25 million of the debt issue. The issue could nearly double Grey's long-term borrowings. The usually thinly traded stock fell sharply in the two days after the announcement, falling 12.3% to $697-its lowest level since June-in two of the stock's 10 highest volume trading days in the past 10 years. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap09L
Bad-boy Durango ad `tastefully done'
A new Dodge Durango SUV ad that takes place in a men's bathroom and features two men in a double-entendre joke about penis size is aimed at urban groups, Dodge's director of communications Julie Roehm explained last week in a conference call. Ms. Roehm said the spot "has received a lot of attention" but "is done very tastefully." (Ad Age first reported details of the spot Oct. 6). Created by GlobalHue, Southfield, Mich., "Poster," shows two men posed as if urinating and talking about size in front of a small Durango poster hung between the two urinals. The dialogue includes the lines "it's seven inches longer"; "I take this bad boy out, I get respect." The voice-over says they're talking about the new, seven-inch-longer Durango. Ms. Roehm said the spot was well received in testing by Millward-Brown and that it was memorable to "the consumer base in conservative markets across the country, including the Bible Belt." The full TV campaign kicks off Nov. 15. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap09t
Investor buys up more IPG shares
Capital Group Cos., Interpublic Group of Cos.' largest shareholder, took advantage of weak share prices to buy more stock, with its institutional investment arm expanding holdings to about 8% from 7.1%, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Other Capital units, such as its mutual funds, also own stock. Capital did not say what its overall current holding is, but the new purchases would appear to move Capital's total position to about 12.6% from June's 11.7%. Capital has owned Interpublic shares and at most times been the largest holder since at least 1994, with a stake that has fluctuated between less than 5% and 13.5% as it trades the stock.
Senate passes anti-spam bill
The U.S. Senate approved anti-spam legislation after adding language that asks the Federal Trade Commission to develop a proposal for a do-not-spam list within six months of the bill's signing or explain why it can't. Spam refers to unsolicited bulk e-mail. Meanwhile, members of the House of Representatives continue to wrangle over anti-spam proposals and have yet to craft a final bill, although some observers noted the Senate vote may spur the House to act. The final version of the Senate bill now allows the FTC, which has recommended against a do-not-spam list and questioned its effectiveness, to determine whether a list is practical and decide virtually all the technical questions on how to implement it. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who asked for the bill's additional language, said companies sending e-mail would have to provide their lists to the FTC so they could be checked and the coverage would be far broader than the FTC's telemarketer do-not-call list, which only covers sales calls to consumers. The spam-blocking list would also cover business-to-business e-mails, he said. In addition, the legislation adds new penalties including up to a five-year jail term for "predatory and abusive commercial e-mail marketing." The Direct Marketing Association said it still supports the legislation but questioned the need for a spam-blocking list, saying spammers who now violate the law would be unlikely to abide by the list, anyway. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap09z
Best Buy stores signed a multiyear agreement with the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players' Association for sponsorship of the league's All Star Game next February. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap09j . ... Orange Glo International dropped Interpublic's Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis, as its creative and media agency of record after less than eight months, because the marketer wants to return to direct marketing, said a Campbell Mithun spokeswoman. Orange Glo spent $16.5 million through June 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap09r.