AD AGE'S WORLD WIRE

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AGENCIES IN TAIWAN INVESTIGATED

[taipei] Prosecutors in Taiwan are investigating an undisclosed number of advertising agencies which are alleged to have colluded with at least 31 stock brokerage houses in avoiding payment of taxes. According to investigators, the brokers reduced their service fees to levels lower than those required by the Taiwan Stock Exchange and then reported the reductions as advertising costs. Prosecutors say the government may have lost at least $73.3 million in tax revenue.

SAATCHI & SAATCHI SLIDES IN RANKINGS

[london] Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising toppled from its long-held position as the U.K.'s biggest ad agency to No. 5 in a new ranking based on 1996 billings measured by A.C. Nielsen MEAL. Last year was the first time the full financial impact was felt of client losses to Maurice Saatchi's M&C Saatchi agency, which entered the top 10 ranking at No. 8 despite being less than 2 years old. The ranking, published in Campaign, stated billings of $358 million for Saatchi & Saatchi and $278 million for M&C Saatchi. Abbott Mead Vickers/ BBDO is the ranking's new top U.K. agency with 1996 billings of $490 million.

TBWA BUYS THAI SHOP

[bangkok] TBWA International, part of Omnicom Group, is making further inroads into Asia with the purchase of Thai agency Next & Triplet. TBWA Next & Triplet has billings of $30 million from accounts including Chivas Regal, Singha beer and Samsung home appliances. The staff numbers 80. Chaipranin Visudhipol is managing director of TBWA Next & Triplet.

GATEWAY 2000'S PRAIS QUITS

[north sioux city, s.d.] David Prais has quit Gateway 2000, the direct PC seller whose $70 million global ad account is currently under review, just two months after taking up the new post of global product marketing director. Mr. Prais, who set up the company's European marketing operation in Dublin before moving to the U.S. in 1995, has moved to the U.K..

Canada tobacco rules delayed

[ottawa] Canadian Health Minister David Dingwall is giving tobacco companies a year's grace to change sponsorships under the new Tobacco Act. The tobacco companies-Rothman's Benson & Hedges, RJR-Macdonald and Imperial Tobacco of Montreal-and sporting and cultural event coordinators had complained loudly when the proposed tighter restrictions were announced late last year.

FCB BUYS INDIAN AGENCY

[bombay] Foote, Cone & Belding has bought Ulka Advertising here as part of its expansion program in the Asia-Pacific region. FCB/Ulka has projected billings of

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