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Publicis, Cordiant plan to merge Zenith stakes

[paris] Publicis Groupe reached a verbal agreement with Cordiant Communications Group, London, to merge their 50% shares in media buyer Zenith Media, but the details of the eventual merger have yet to be negotiated, said Publicis Chairman Maurice Levy. He said Publicis reached an "agreement in principle" with Cordiant to merge their respective stakes in Zenith, but couldn't specify a timetable for completing the process. Publicis acquired a 50% stake in Zenith as part of its buyout of Saatchi & Saatchi, finalized in mid-September, and has expressed interest in acquiring Cordiant's 50% stake as well. Full ownership would allow Publicis to consolidate Zenith with its existing media arm, Optimedia, creating a new international media buying giant with combined activities topping $16 billion. Cordiant has balked at a cash sale of its Zenith stake, Mr. Levy said. The companies are negotiating the creation of a holding company that would group media buying activities of Publicis' Optimedia and its 50% stake in Zenith with Cordiant's share in Zenith, Mr. Levy said.

Havas acquisition lays foundation of PR network

[paris] Havas Advertising acquired a 60% stake in financial communications specialist Hudson Sandler, London. The acquisition lays a foundation for Havas to create a pan-European financial communications, investor relations and public relations consultancy capable of offering a full range of services to its existing ad clients. Havas will incorporate Hudson Sandler into its Diversified Agencies Group, a Paris-based division specializing in corporate communications and marketing services.

Guinness World Records taps Grey for Web site

[london] Guinness World Records, the publisher and producer of a global TV show, awarded Grey Worldwide here the U.S. launch business for an entertainment site dedicated to the passion and fun of record-breaking. Creative work will be developed in London by the office's Yellow Grey team. Starcom Motive and Starcom IP, both in London and Chicago, will handle media buying, while the Red Consultancy, London, and GCI Group, San Francisco, will work on public relations. The campaign will break at the end of the year in New York, Los Angeles and other broadband-active cities in the U.S. The site (guinnessworldrecords.com) will expand to the U.K. market next year. It will offer visitors the chance to look in on record attempts as they happen, contact recordholders and search a database covering the existing range of records.

HotJobs enlists trio of agencies in Canada

[toronto] HotJobs.ca, the Canadian version of New York-based online recruitment services company HotJobs.com, hired three agencies here to help with its launch. Grey Global Group's Grey Interactive will handle online media buying, while Grey's GCI Group becomes public relations agency of record; the Media Company will handle offline media buying. Creative is handled by the recently appointed Weiss Stagliano Partners, New York.

Chinadotcom, Motorola link; top Web sites listed

[hong kong] Asian Internet company Chinadotcom signed a deal with Motorola Electronics Taiwan to make content from its greater China portal network (china.com, hongkong.com and taiwan.com) available to users of Motorola's Wireless Application Protocol-enabled mobile phones. Motorola's WAP customers in Taiwan will gain access to Chinadotcom online information and services including news, stock quotes, weather and sports, said Peter Hamilton, Chinadotcom's chief operating officer here. Chinadotcom has signed similar deals with Siemens Shanghai Mobile Communications in China and New World Mobility in Hong Kong. It also has an agreement with InfoisLive.com to market its wireless products and services in China, Japan, South Korea and the U.S.

The deal comes at the same time as the release of a new ranking of China's top 20 Web sites among home Internet users, a list that includes china.com. The first such rating by Interactive Audience Measurement Asia is based on the total number of unique users during the month of August. The top 20 are: 163.com, with a 50.7% reach and 3.4 million unique users, followed by sina.com.cn, sohu.com, yeah.net, chinaren.com, yahoo.com, 163.net, china.com, 263.net, microsoft.com, msn.com, tencent.com, cninfo.net, etang.com, 21cn.com, myrice.com, 126.com, elong.com, online.sh.cn and fm365.com.

Brazil's IG acquires dot-com Super11net

[rio de janeiro] IG, a pioneer of free online access in Brazil's fast-growing Internet market, took over rival Super11net, the country's first dot-com to collapse. The acquisition gives IG an extra 800,000 registered users to add to its base of 2.9 million. The move strengthens IG's challenge to Universo Online, Brazil's leading Internet service provider and portal, as well as Spain's Terra Networks and America Online Latin America. The demise of Super11net, only seven months after its launch, has raised questions about the short-term profitability of Latin America's fastest-growing Internet market now that investors seem to be getting increasingly choosy about which dot-coms to back.

People moving . . .

Kim Manley, 37, to chief marketing officer, Allied Domecq Spirits & Wines, London, from president for Diageo's Smirnoff brand worldwide. Mr. Manley will have global responsibilities at Allied Domecq and succeeds Todd Martin, who last month became president of Allied North America. . . . Peter Wilken next month joins BBDO Worldwide as managing director, Asia-Pacific. The post has been vacant since Chris Jaques left the Omnicom Group agency in April 1999 to join Ammirati Puris Lintas, London. In the interim, BBDO International President Jean-Michel Goudard, based in New York and Paris, has served as acting chairman of the region. Mr. Wilken previously was managing director of Leo Burnett Co., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Before that, he headed up Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide's office in the Philippines. Separately, BBDO has lost Tom Kao, president of BBDO China & Hong Kong, to client Pacific Century CyberWorks. He won't be replaced. . . . Guillaume Canard-Duchene will head the newly opened New York ad sales office of Eurosport, Europe's leading cable station. Mr. Canard-Duchene, formerly Eurosport's advertising sales director for Asia and Southern/Central Europe, will work with newly appointed North American advertising representative Huson International Media to promote the cable channel to U.S. advertisers. Eurosport previously was represented in North America by ESPN, a former shareholder in the channel. The New York office opens as Eurosport goes to 24-hour coverage of the Summer Olympics in Sydney and launches a new digital delivery all-sports news channel, Eurosport News.

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