Publicis makes last ditch effort

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Publicis Communications Dec. 29 made a last ditch effort to prevent a Dec. 30 True North Communications stockholder meeting, asking the Delaware Supreme Court to reverse a lower court decision preventing Publicis from launching a tender offer.

In unusual hourlong telephone arguments, Publicis asserted that the Delaware Chancery Court chancellor was in error in deciding Publicis had ceded its right to act. The Supreme Court indicated it would act Dec. 29 on whether to grant Publicis' request to reverse the decision and delay the stockholder meeting.

Publicis, which was left with 18.5% of True North stock after its combination with True North fell through, has been trying to prevent True North from acquiring Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt at the Dec. 30 stockholder meeting in Chicago.

Delaware Chancery Chancellor William Chandler III on Dec. 23 said that while Publicis could vote its own shares against the acquisition, in the negotiations that led to the unwinding of the planned combination, Publicis had agreed to otherwise support True North's planned acquisitions.

In testimony Dec. 22, Publicis President Maurice Levy argued that he had agreed only to provide required accounting information if True North sought to acquire another agency, while True North argued that Publicis had agreed to support acquisition of other agencies.

Unless the Delaware Supreme Court acts Dec. 29, the Dec. 30 stockholder meeting is likely to be anticlimatic.

Copyright December 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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