Wenner buys back 'Us Weekly' stake
wenner media said it will buy back the 50% stake in Us Weekly it sold to Walt Disney Co. five years ago. Though Wenner didn't disclose terms, Disney said during an earnings conference call that Wenner will pay about $300 million; Disney paid about $40 million for the stake in February 2001. Us Weekly is reporting average total circulation of nearly 1.8 million for the first half of this year, 7.2% higher than the total average from first-half 2005, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Ad pages at Us Weekly from January through July totaled 1,052.5, up 2.2% from the same period last year, and grew 10% during all of 2005 to total 1802, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.
Interpublic optimistic on 0.5% growth
interpublic group of Cos. sounded its most optimistic note in recent memory as it reported a modest increase in organic revenue and a downtick in professional-services fees for the first half of the year. Chief Financial Officer Frank Mergenthaler and Chairman-CEO Michael Roth pointed to organic-revenue growth of 0.5%, although overall revenue decreased 2.7% during the first half. During that time, operating expenses declined to $2.94 billion from $2.99 billion in the first half of 2005, reflecting a lightening of the professional-fees load. Revenue declined during the second quarter because of the timing of some revenue recognition, an issue Interpublic identified in its first-quarter results. In the second quarter, net income was $68.9 million, up from $9 million last year.
News Corp.: No plans to acquire YouTube
news corp. dashed rumors of a possible YouTube acquisition during an earnings call last week. The company will invest in web properties it already owns "rather than make big acquisitions," said Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin. "Longer term, we're intently focused on developing ways not only to monetize our acquired internet assets but also on how to exploit our vast content libraries as broadband access proliferates," Chairman-CEO Rupert Murdoch said in a statement. Mr. Murdoch has spent more than $1.2 billion on internet companies over the past year, including $580 million for MySpace.
Prez of 'BusinessWeek' announces retirement plans
businessweek President William P. Kupper Jr. plans to retire, the magazine said. Mr. Kupper, 61, plans to stay through the selection of a successor and after that will help during the transition period. A search for his successor has begun, the McGraw Hill Cos. magazine said. Mr. Kupper joined BusinessWeek in 1995 as head of U.S. ad sales and soon was promoted to head of global sales. He was named president of BusinessWeek Group in 2000 and oversaw the transition to a new editorial team last year.
A long list of marketers, including BMW of North America, Colgate-Palmolive, Ford Motor Co., Hewlett-Packard, ING, Kimberly-Clark, Pepsi and Visa, said they'll no longer pay sites for ad impressions unless they've been audited by a third party. In addition, by 2008 they will insist that publishers have a third party endorse their processes for measuring ad-impressions as "consistent and reliable." ... Publicis North America announced Rob Feakins, formerly executive creative director-vice chairman at Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, would become president for Publicis, New York, as well as chief creative officer for Publicis, New York, and Publicis Dialog, New York. The creative departments of both units will be aligned under one creative leader who will report to Mr. Feakins. ... Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners announced the promotion of Aaron Reitkopf to group president, a newly created position in the agency. Mr. Reitkopf will be responsible for the integration of all the Kirshenbaum companies including The Media Kitchen, Lime Public Relations & Promotion, Dotglu and WhiteSpace.