MEDIA CONSULTANT ZELTNER JOINS IPG: VETERAN ADVISER TO TAKE STRATEGIC JOB POST AT WESTERN INT'L MEDIA

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Interpublic Group of Cos., close to completing an acquisition of Minneapolis agency Carmichael Lynch, is also buying consultancy Herbert Zeltner Inc.

With the deal, founder Herb Zeltner will become chairman of the strategic review board of Western International Media, a unit of Interpublic, reporting to Western President Michael Kassan.

Mr. Zeltner's independent consultancy, based in North Salem, N.Y., will cease to exist.

The longtime media consultant will be "an invaluable resource to us as our clients require more and more expertise . . . on the strategic side of the business," said Mr. Kassan.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CARMICHAEL THIS WEEK

As for Carmichael Lynch (AA, Jan. 12), the deal is expected to be announced this week, although there appears to be some disagreement among Interpublic agency executives as to where the shop will be housed within the holding company.

Two executives close to the deal said the agency most likely will be placed under or combined with Interpublic's Campbell-Ewald, based in Warren, Mich. However, another executive called that potential arrangement "far-fetched."

One executive familiar with the discussions said Interpublic is looking at three to four different scenarios for Carmichael Lynch.

Interpublic declined to comment; a spokesman for Carmichael Lynch said only that "discussions are continuing."

Interpublic's current stable of shops includes McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Ammirati Puris Lintas, Lowe Group and Draft Worldwide.

INCREASED MIDWEST PRESENCE

Observers believe the deal would benefit both sides. It would give Interpublic a much-needed increased presence in the Midwest, while at the same time providing Carmichael Lynch with access to international capabilities. Interpublic's current Midwest presence is Campbell-Ewald, Minneapolis-based Campbell Mithun Esty and Ammirati's start-up Chicago office.

STAFF-OWNED AGENCY

Carmichael Lynch is owned by its staff through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan in which more than half its 200 employees are vested. If the deal with Interpublic goes through, Carmichael Lynch staff members are expected to gain Interpublic stock in exchange for their shares.

Executives close to the talks have put Carmichael Lynch's purchase price in the $15 million to $20 million range. The agency's clients include Boston Beer Co.'s Samuel Adams beer, Harley-Davidson Motor Co. and Mack Trucks.

Contributing: Pat Sloan, Chuck Ross

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