True North Communications, Chicago, countersued former partner Publicis SA, alleging a Publicis proposal to merge the French agency network with True North is just a ploy to stop True North's acquisition of Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt, New York. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago. True North claims a Nov. 10 letter to True North's board from Publicis Chairman Maurice Levy is "nothing more than a ruse designed to interfere with the proposed Bozell acquisition and to mislead True North's shareholders." The countersuit claims Publicis interfered with the Bozell acquisition by withholding documents needed to close the BJK&E deal, interfered in business dealings between BJK&E and True North and breached the terms of a separation agreement between True North and Publicis. Publicis sued True North last week to stop a proposed Dec. 30 shareholders meeting to approve the BJK&E deal and force the True North board to hear its $28-per-share merger proposal.
Copyright December 1997, Crain Communications Inc.