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Saatchi & Saatchi, London, said it has lost money in the Asia Pacific during the company's first six months of trading, since demerging with Cordiant Communications Group. In the Asia Pacific, Saatchi's revenue was down 7.5% to $36.9 million and the group had an operating loss of $4.7 million. Nevertheless, Saatchi claims results for its first six months show the network has been "invigorated by independence," with the performance of its North American operations -- accounting for nearly half of group revenue -- "particularly encouraging." The group reported operating profit up 23.8% from the same period in 1997 to $25 million, and revenue of $306 million, up 0.5%. As expected, Charlie Scott, 48, will give up his chairmanship at Saatchi, making way for Robert Seelert, 55. Mr. Scott retains his post as chairman of Cordiant. Mr. Seelert will be replaced as chief executive by Kevin Roberts, 48, currently CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, the advertising network. There are no current plans to replace Mr. Roberts. Separately at Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, Steve Chinn, 38, was promoted to the new role of director of planning, international business development, from European planning director.

Magazine ad pages up 2.7% through July

Total magazine ad pages held steady from January through July, up 2.7% over a year ago, to 131,256.14, according to Publishers Information Bureau. Losses in automotive and computers were offset by gains in growing categories such as medicines and proprietary remedies, up 6.2% to $55,755,085, and apparel, footwear and accessories, up 25.5% to $22,476,835. Automotive ad revenue was off 5% to $974,554,258, while computer advertising was off 2.2% to $535,692,368.

BP's buyout of Amoco may trim agency roster

British Petroleum's $48.2 billion acquisition of Amoco Corp. is expected to lead to consolidation among roster agencies. Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, is the lead shop on Amoco's $30 million account, along with Bender, Browning, Dolby & Sanderson. W.B. Doner & Co., Southfield, Mich., handles U.S. and some global advertising for BP.

Unilever reviews $28 mil in Russian media buys

Unilever is reviewing its $28 million media account in Russia. Contenders include McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Initiative Media and incumbent MindShare.

Kraft consolidates promos at 7 agencies

Kraft Foods consolidated its consumer promotion and ethnic consumer promotion accounts among seven agencies after a long review. The six shops for general-market consumer promotion are Colangelo Group, Westport, Conn.; Davidson Marketing and Frankel & Co., both Chicago; East/West Creative, New York and Chicago; Guild Group, White Plains, N.Y.; and Ryan Partnership in New York and Chicago. Zubi Advertising Services, Coral Gables, Fla., was named for Hispanic consumer promotion, and Guild Group will handle African-American efforts as well as general market.

Raisio, McNeil link for margarine intro

Finnish food marketer Raisio ratified a joint venture plan with Johnson & Johnson's McNeil Consumer Products Co. to launch Raisio's cholesterol-reducing health margarine Benecol, ahead of approval of the product by the Food & Drug Administration. Raisio intends to get around the FDA approval requirement by marketing Benecol as a dietary supplement. The company is anxious to get Benecol onto U.S. shelves by yearend, ahead of Unilever, which also is planning to launch a cholesterol-reducing margarine. McNeil last year purchased global rights to Raisio's process of turning pine pulp byproduct into the compounds used for Benecol.

USPS to cancel merchandise sales

The U.S. Postal Service will stop selling T-shirts, ties and coffee cups at post offices. New Postmaster General William Henderson cited concerns by local businesses that the postal service was competing with them. Former Postmaster Marvin Runyon saw the sales as one way to reduce the need for rate hikes. The postal service will continue to offer the merchandise at some special stores and through catalogs.

NAA to establish unit to aid ad buys

Newspaper Association of America's board approved plans to spend $5 million developing the Newspaper Industry Communications Center, an online-based planning and placement service for agencies that buy newspaper advertising. NAA President-CEO John Sturm said NICC will not negotiate rates but only facilitate the buying process.

Jacor acquisition OK'd; 8 stations to be sold

Jacor Communications' $620 million acquisition of Nationwide Communications radio stations triggered a big station swap and concerns from the U.S. Department of Justice and Ohio attorney general about media concentration. Justice approved the deal after Jacor agreed to sell off eight of Nationwide's 17 stations -- two in San Diego, one in Cleveland and five in Columbus, Ohio. The swap, however, involves far more stations. Jacor currently has 197 stations.

Arbitron, Edison to study radio, Web usage

Radio ratings purveyor Arbitron Co. is teaming with Edison Media Research to conduct a study of Arbitron diary keepers and Internet users to evaluate the impact Web surfing has on radio listening. Results will be presented Oct. 15 at the Radio Advertising Bureau Show in Seattle. Suggestions for specific areas of inquiry can be sent to [email protected]

Missouri Sen. Ashcroft runs ad effort in Iowa

In what may presage a run for the presidency, radio and print ads from one of the political action committees of U.S. Sen. John Ashcroft (R., Mo.) ran for five days in Iowa to announce the senator's visit there. The $26,000 buy of ads produced by Alfano Productions, Arlington, Va., is Sen. Ashcroft's first in a possible bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2000.

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