And the most powerful man at Interpublic is ... Donny Deutsch, at least as far as being the agency's top shareholder for the period between Nov. 30, 2000, and Jan. 12, 2001. Deutsch last November became the largest individual shareholder of his agency's new parent, Interpublic Group of Cos., according to documents filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission. They show IPG bought Deutsch's eponymous agency in November for more than 6.3 million shares of stock-worth about $246.16 million on the day the deal was closed, Ad Age calculates. Of that, Donny received 5.44 million shares, or about 1.6% of the holding company's issued and outstanding common stock. Donny's portion even dwarfed the holdings, as of March 23, of IPG's then-Chairman and next-largest individual shareholder Philip Geier (1.33 million shares) and came close to matching the amount of common stock held by all IPG directors and executive officers as a group (5.75 million shares). On Jan. 12, IPG registered to allow Deutsch staffers to sell more than 5.2 million shares. If Donny sells what he's registered to unload-4.8 million shares-he could pocket $219 million based on recent prices. The agency declined comment.
British Midland capitalizes on bmi
Expect British Midland Airways-well-known in Europe and coming to America in April-to change its identity next month to the lowercase initials bmi, as in British Midland International. The airline has registered the trademark in the U.S. and Europe, using a typeface resembling the one employed by NY-based carrier JetBlue.
Citron pursues digital dream
Citron Haligman Bedecarre is trying to defy the dot-com depression. By the end of the month, the San Francisco agency is expected to announce a roll-up with three other shops, primarily digital media agencies. The new entity, expected to take the name of the lead European interactive shop participating in the menage a quatre, isn't about to deal an immediate IPO but is backed by Accenture and a VC firm. Also percolating in the valley is the latest try at the advertising agency of the future from adman-turned-merger specialist-turned-VCist Mark Kvamme, founder of CKS Partners and now with Sequoia Capital.
Bowl runneth (Down) Under
CBS' four Super teams-the Giants, Ravens, Kucha and Ogakor-are poised to hit the airwaves next Sunday and in last-minute ad-justments:
* The network originally planned to sell :30s in "Survivor: The Australian Outback" for $1 million each, figuring it would tackle additional viewers by following Super Bowl XXXV. Media execs now say "Survivor" prices have dropped to around $700,000 to $800,000.
* One plugged-in exec said an advertiser was negotiating for a 3rd-quarter spot for as low as $1.5 million. CBS execs in recent weeks said they'd been selling some spots for up to $2.5 million (AA, Jan. 15).
* One advertiser lashing down a late buy with CBS was Johnson & Johnson, inking an economical $2.2 million deal to tout its new Pepcid Complete, a spy says. J&J got time in both the game and "Survivor" for that price. (Plus Pepcid for CBS execs, perhaps?) Count on CBS to come back to J&J later to ask for payback in the form of support for a failing show or two.