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WPP buys stake in media buyer CIA

[london] WPP has bought, in effect, a 12.5% stake in CIA Group, Europe's second-largest independent media buyer. WPP, which is paying $16.6 million for the CIA shares, says the purchase is just an investment. WPP's CIA share acquisition raises the question of whether there are any strategic plans to consolidate the media-buying interests of its networks. There have already been discussions between J. Walter Thompson Co. and Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide about cooperating on media buying. CIA's billings currently stand at just under $3.5 billion.

McD pulls Norway salmon burger

[oslo] The launch by McDonald's Corp. of the MacLaks salmon burger in Norway has turned into a major fiasco, with four people being treated for food poisoning in hospitals around Oslo after dining on the new product. Launched in May, MacLaks was proving a big hit with health-conscious Norwegians before being pulled. McDonald's was also considering plans to launch the sandwich in Sweden and Denmark.

North Sydney may limit outdoor ads

[sydney] North Sydney City's glittering skyline-the most lucrative and visible signage market in Australia, worth an estimated $100 million-is under threat from the City Council's plan to "get rid of visual clutter" by limiting sky signage to building owners or major tenants. The new code slams the door on third-party advertisers, most of them international groups. Some pay as much as $750,000 a year to advertise on the "glitter mile." Industry groups say the plan will strip millions of dollars from building values.

Scholz in Singapore, links with Batey

[hamburg] German agency Scholz & Friends has opened an office in Singapore to assist the Asian expansion of its client Reemstsma, the German cigarette giant. The office will handle Reemtsma international cigarette brand Davidoff, as well as other brands of the Hamburg-based tobacco marketer. In addition, Scholz has formed a strategic alliance with Asian network Batey Group. Batey's offices will be placing and adapting Scholz & Friends Singapore's ads for their region.

Tokyu hires senior McCann exec

[tokyo] Tokyu Agency has recruited a senior executive from one of its major competitors, McCann-Erickson. Tokyu has named Hiroshi Itsumi senior managing director; he had been exec VP of McCann-Erickson Japan. Mr. Itsumi, 61, has many years of experience as a media director and has extensive industry contacts.

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