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[New York] Grey Global Group's board was expected to meet Sept. 11 to weigh buyout offers, with an announcement coming as soon as today. Private-equity firm Hellman & Friedman and U.K. holding company WPP Group were seen as the strongest contenders, followed by a third bidder, French ad firm Havas. Hellman, a former owner of Young & Rubicam, was allied with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. on a bid said to be above $900 a share in cash or more than $1.25 billion, with former Y&R chief Michael Dolan, 57, likely to be Grey Global CEO and current Grey Chairman-CEO Ed Meyer likely to have some continuing role. WPP offered more than $900 a share in stock and cash, with a plan for Mr. Meyer, 77, to run Grey for a transition period of several years. Havas at late week was believed to have bid $900 a share cash, with funding from Deutsche Bank and Calyon, a subsidiary of French firm Credit Agricole.

McD's, Destiny's Child close to promotion deal

[Oak Brook, Ill.] McDonald's Corp. is close to negotiating a deal with newly reunited Destiny's Child, which will perform a tune exclusively for the Golden Arches, for a major promotional push tied to the group's relaunch, according to executives close to the marketer. After a two-year hiatus, the R&B trio will release a new studio album Nov. 16 and will launch a world tour in April 2005. Earlier this year, McDonald's conducted market research on the appeal of lead singer Beyonce Knowles for its fruit and walnut salad launch for next year, said executives. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Representatives for the group didn't return calls. A McDonald's spokeswoman said "Many terrific ideas were discussed this week but we have not finalized any nor decided on which ones to pursue."

Tyson, Viacom ink $20M integration pact

[New York] Meat processor Tyson Foods, through its media agency Havas' MPG, has struck a deal with media conglomerate Viacom that includes the integration of Tyson products in episodes of CBS shows. According to CBS, the deal includes the first-ever product integration in a scripted, prime-time series-"Still Standing" in the fourth quarter of 2004. Other components include Tyson sponsorship of various CBS properties, such as, and shows on Viacom-owned channels, including UPN's new drama, "Kevin Hill." The total value of the deal is estimated at $15 million to $20 million, according to a knowledgeable executive.

G&J cuts 80 spots; `Family Circle' hit hard

[New York] On Sept. 9 Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing cut 80 positions, which included around 60 layoffs. The rest were vacant at the time. G&J employs around 650. On the edit side, Family Circle was the hardest hit, followed by troubled teen title YM. Child escaped without any editorial-side layoffs. Staffers had been subject to a salary freeze, and for the past two years had received no payouts from the company's profit-sharing plan. See QwikFIND aap95j

Tribune figures worse than originally disclosed

[Chicago] Recent circulation overstatements at Tribune Co. newspapers Newsday and Hoy were worse than those previously disclosed, according to figures the company released on Sept. 10. For the six months ending March 31, 2004, Newsday overstated its daily circulation by at least 60,000 and its Sunday circulation by over 100,000. At the Spanish-language Hoy, the claimed daily circulation of 109,528 more than doubled its actual circulation, which Tribune said would be between 40,000 and 50,000. A statement from Jack Fuller, president of Tribune's publishing division, stressed that the publishers and circulation management at both dailies had changed. See QwikFIND aap95l

Chase consolidates media biz with Carat

[New York] JPMorgan Chase has consolidated its media work with Aegis Group's Carat, New York, according to an executive familiar with the account. Carat handled Bank One's media duties prior to the bank's merger with JPMorgan Chase. Interpublic Group of Cos' Initiative Media had handled Chase in the past. There was no review. The merged bank recently named independent McGarry Bowen, New York, its creative agency.

Tostitos packaging touts zero grams of trans fat

[Plano, Texas] Frito-Lay will roll out packaging later this month for its Tostitos tortilla chips that, among other changes, touts its zero grams of trans fat on the front. The effort dovetails with the PepsiCo unit's ongoing efforts to address consumers' growing health concerns, which included converting to trans-fat-free corn oil for Doritos, Tostitos and Cheetos last year.

FYI ...

Walt Disney Co. CEO Michael Eisner will step down from his post in 2006, according to the company's SEC filings. ... Gearing up for the holiday season, Philips Consumer Electronics Sept. 14 is launching a branding campaign from Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, New York, according to people familiar with the matter. A DDB spokeswoman referred questions to the client. Philips executives couldn't be reached for comment. ... United Airlines petitioned the U.S. Department of Transportation to alter current disclosure requirements for airline-sale print ads. The airline considers current requirements to list each code-share arrangement "an increasingly onerous burden ... without meaningful consumer benefits." ... Whirlpool Corp. tapped Publicis Groupe's Publicis, New York, as agency of record for Whirlpool Corp.'s new Gladiator GarageWorks line. Billings for the rest of the year are estimated at $3 million and are expected to increase next year, according to an executive familiar with the account.

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