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Procter & Gamble Co. posted record earnings for its fourth quarter, ended June 30, despite the Asian economic crisis. Earnings of $686 million were 12% above the same period last year, with sales up 3.6% to $9.3 billion. P&G sales were up 5% in North America, largely reflecting gains in paper products and last year's acquisition of Tambrands. P&G's stock price, however, slipped late last week, because of volume gains of only 1% for the quarter, excluding effects of acquisitions.

Interpublic profits up 24.8%in 2nd qtr.

Interpublic Group of Cos., New York, reported second-quarter net income rose 24.8%, to $116.4 million, from a year ago, on 17.8% higher gross income of $972.4 million. For the first half, Interpublic net income climbed 24.1% to $152.2 million on gross income of $1.8 billion, up 16.2%.

American Stores reviews $40 mil in ads

American Stores Co., Salt Lake City, is reviewing its Lucky and Sav-on food and drugstore account for California, Nevada and New Mexico, as well as its Sav-on and Osco drugstore operations in 19 states. Spending is estimated at $40 million. Lois/EJL, Chicago, will continue to handle Jewel Food Stores and Osco in metro Chicago; Reimel Carter, Philadelphia, remains creative agency for Acme Markets, Malvern, Pa. Lois/EJL and Lucky Stores agency Grey Advertising, Los Angeles, are among 15 agencies contacted.

B&W drops Tatham; Grey, Bates benefit

Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. dropped Euro RSCG Tatham, Chicago, reducing its roster to two shops worldwide, New York-based Grey Advertising and Bates Worldwide. Grey loses its flagship $40 million Kool business to Lucky Strike agency Bates, but picks up the $10 million GPC account and the $17 million Misty business from Tatham. Bates snares the $15 million Capri account from Tatham. Executives close to the shift said the move was made in anticipation of stiffer ad limits in the U.S. and to realign agency assignments along full-price and value-price brands.

CVS' $65 mil media acc't moves to Bates

CVS Pharmacy, the nation's largest drugstore chain, moved its $65 million media account to Bates USA, New York, from TBS Media Management. It's a major blow to TBS, already reeling from the loss of Pacific Bell earlier this year, and would reduce its reported $360 million in 1998 billings (see earlier chart on Page S-2).

Bell Atlantic-GTE merger raises agency questions

The $55 billion stock swap that would merge Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp. raises questions for the two companies' agencies. Each marketer completed major reviews in the past 18 months. Bell Atlantic consolidated creative with Arnold Communications, Boston; Lord Group, New York; Draft Worldwide, Chicago; and Tierney & Partners, Philadelphia. It also consolidated $200 million in media at Zenith Media and Media Direct Partners, both New York. GTE last year moved its $100 million account to Ogilvy & Mather, New York, from DDB Needham Worldwide's Focus GTE, Dallas.

Aon selects McCann as global agency

Aon Corp. named McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, as its first global agency. The insurance company used various agencies before. Spending is estimated at $10 million to $20 million.

Viagra competitor taps Becker agency

The next impotence product is likely to come from Schering-Plough Corp., which awarded its Vasomax direct-to-consumer prescription brand to Robert A. Becker Euro RSCG, New York. Vasomax is awaiting Food & Drug Administration approval.

Braun exits NBC in executive shake-up

In a series of unexpected moves, NBC TV Network President Neil Braun is leaving NBC, to be succeeded by NBC Broadcast and Network Operations President Randy Falco. NBC Senior VP-Olympic and Sports Sales Keith Turner was named president-sales, NBC TV Network, succeeding 27-year NBC veteran Larry Hoffner, who was promoted to the new post of chairman, NBC Sales Group. Mr. Braun said he's leaving "to fully pursue my entrepreneurial instincts."

Campbell gives Zenith $30 mil in Euro media

Campbell Soup Co. appointed Zenith Media, London, to its $30 million European media planning and buying business. Previously, Zenith handled buying in the U.K. and planning for the Homepride brand. Saatchi & Saatchi managed planning for the Campbell brand in the U.K. Elsewhere in Europe, Young & Rubicam had the business in Germany and Belgium, and Carat International in France.

Milnot buys Beech-Nut unit from Ralcorp

Ralcorp Holdings sold its Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp. business to Milnot Co. for $68 million in cash. "This reflects our strategy of shifting toward a more balanced sales mix of private-label and branded products," said Milnot President-CEO Scott Meader. Suissa Miller, Los Angeles, is agency of record for Beech-Nut.

Dean Foods to sell off vegetable business

Dean Foods Co. will sell its Dean Foods Vegetable Co. to Agrilink Foods. The Dean unit markets such brands as Birds Eye, Freshlike and VegAll. Cramer-Krasselt, Milwaukee, handles the account. Dean said it will receive about $400 million in cash plus Agrilink's aseptic foods business.

Abercrombie & Fitch pulls part of catalog

Abercrombie & Fitch pulled a "creative drinking" section from undistributed copies of its back-to-school catalog aimed at college students. The clothing retailer earlier rejected a request by Mothers Against Drunk Driving to discontinue the catalog (AA, July 27).

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