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PubliGroupe Reports $66 Million Write-off

Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Swiss advertising company PubliGroupe said it cut off financing for its 50.5%-owned U.S. agency company, Panoramic Communications, New York, after the Swiss firm posted a 2001 net loss of $117 million.

Panoramic owns ad agency EPB Communications, New York, ranked No. 74 by Advertising Age magazine among U.S. agency brands in 2001 (with U.S. billings of $334 million), and Yesawich, Pepperdine & Brown, Orlando (2001 billings of $139 million).

"Today we have

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halted all further financing, and Panoramic is obliged to turn to other sources of finance to safeguard its future," PubliGroupe CEO Jean-Jacques Zaugg wrote in the annual report released last week.

PubliGroupe said it took a one-time charge of $66 million to write off its entire stake in Panoramic and that Panoramic has sought new financing via third-party loans, new investors and the proceeds of divestitures.

Last month, management at the R.J. Palmer agency bought the media buying shop back from Panoramic in a cash deal.

Panoramic did not return phone calls by deadline.

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