The issue from Interpublic's standpoint is business betrayal. Did Mr. Sloves, former chairman of Interpublic's Lowe & Partners/SMS, tamper with that agency's Mercedes-Benz of North America account, while still a consultant to Interpublic, in a way that led to the loss of Mercedes to Omnicom Group's Merkley Newman Harty? An arbitrator has now said no, termed Interpublic's accusations unsubstantiated and told the agency holding company to pay Mr. Sloves $1.3 million in back pay and benefits.
Interpublic has said it will likely appeal the arbitrator's ruling and separately pursue a trial in a related lawsuit alleging Mr. Sloves breached his fiduciary duties. That trial would make great news copy, but it won't bring back Mercedes.