Havas first-half revenue declined 6%

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Revenue for the first half of 2005 at French holding company Havas dropped 6% to $870 million, down from $930 million in the year ago period, while net income rose 52% to $42 million from $27 million in the year-ago period. Earnings per share rose 16% to 10¢ vs. a year ago period of 8¢. Operating margins rose slightly to 10.8% from 10.6% one year ago. Stung by the impact of large account losses, including Intel and Volkswagen media in the first quarter, organic growth was a meager 2.2%. Havas' new management team, led by CEO Philippe Wahl, said that the group's recovery "must be pursued and amplified," and results must be significantly improved.

Disney to sell `Discover' to Bob Guccione Jr.

Disney Publishing Worldwide agreed to sell Discover, the consumer science magazine, to a group of investors led by Bob Guccione Jr., founder of Spin and Gear magazines. Financial terms were not disclosed. "A consumer science magazine is no longer a strategic fit for us as we continue to focus on magazines for families and children, including FamilyFun, Disney Adventures and Wondertime, which launches in 2006," said Glenn Rosenbloom, senior VP-group publisher of Disney Publishing Worldwide's U.S. consumer magazine group. Discover was established in 1980 and has been owned and published by Disney subsidiary Buena Vista Magazines since 1991. Mr. Guccione will be CEO at Discover Media, which was created to buy the magazine as well as other media properties.

BBDO award-winning creative Knipe dies at 38

Award-winning BBDO creative Andy Knipe died last week after a five-year battle with ALS. He was 38. Mr. Knipe, a resident of Oceanside, N.Y., worked on some of the Omnicom-owned agency's most high-profile accounts, including Pepsi, FedEx and HBO. His awards include Cannes Lions, Effies and Andys. He joined BBDO in 1992 after a paid internship provided by the prestigious Richard Martell Scholarship. He rose quickly through the ranks, eventually becoming a senior VP-creative director in 2002. He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.

Interpublic to pitch for Washington Mutual

Interpublic Group of Cos. plans to battle its way back into the banking business by fielding one or more yet unspecified shops to pitch the $100 million to $125 million Washington Mutual creative and media account in a review being handled by Select Resources International, Santa Monica, Calif. Washington Mutual, with a customer friendly retail approach, built its brand on an ad campaign created in part by mockumentary director Christopher Guest from Sedgwick Road, an Interpublic shop formerly the Seattle office of McCann Erickson. On Aug. 31, Interpublic, which had more than a dozen shops working on the $600 million Bank of America account, lost it to Omnicom Group. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq90d

Motorola, Cingular launch iTunes phone

The war over the hottest tech product of the 2005 holiday season got under way last week as Apple Computer, along with Motorola and Cingular Wireless, unveiled the Rokr E1, the first phone capable of using iTunes software. The long-expected and much-hyped phone, which disappointed some in terms of its looks and capacity, will be backed by two separate ad campaigns, both from BBDO. One, for Cingular Wireless, riffs offs off Apple's silhouette campaign and the second is reminiscent of Apple's first campaign for iTunes. Both of those referenced spots were from Apple's shop, TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Cailif. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq90h

NBC News president quits; Court TV chief a contender

NBC News President Neal Shapiro resigned last week; his last day on the job was Sept. 9. Mr. Shapiro has been with the company for 12 years and was executive producer of "Dateline" before heading the news unit four years ago. A spokeswoman for NBC News said Mr. Shapiro would not comment. Industry executives said Court TV CEO Henry Schleiff is in the frame for the role, as is Paula Madison, general manager of NBC's Southern California affiliate, KNBC. In the interim, Steve Capus, Mr. Shapiro's No. 2, is acting NBC news president. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq90e

FYI...

The New York Times Magazine will introduce "The Funny Pages," a weekly 10-page humor and fiction section, Sept. 18. The section will include fiction and color comics. ... News Corp. said it will buy IGN Entertainment for $650 million. IGN's network of sites includes Planet Network, Rotten Tomatoes and AskMen.com. ... Steve Centrillo, most recently exec VP-chief growth officer for Interpublic Group of Cos., last week became president-CEO of Foote Cone & Belding, New York. Mr. Centrillo, 47, fills the post vacated by Lynne Seid, who quit in June. ... Alberto-Culver Co. will take its Nexxus hair-care brand to mass retail early next year. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq90g

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