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AKQA, one of adland's hottest digital properties, sold a majority stake in itself to private-equity firm General Atlantic. The San Francisco shop, whose clients include Visa, Coca-Cola Co., Microsoft Corp. and McDonald's, didn't disclose the terms of the deal, which followed weeks of speculation as to where the interactive shop would end up. In an interview, AKQA CEO Tom Bedecarre said the financing was secured as a means of paying off previous investors and shareholders.

Wieden & Kennedy creative director Hal Curtis, who heads creative for the agency's Coca-Cola account, will not be joining a planned startup involving his former creative partner, Chuck McBride. Executives familiar with the situation said Mr. Curtis was offered an increase in salary and more responsibility following discussions with Wieden President Dan Wieden.

DreamWorks Animation's Shrek-whose promotional efforts for a sugary General Mills cereal named in his honor were pummeled by a U.S. senator ("We got rid of Joe Camel. We've got to get rid of Shrek," Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin once said)-is becoming a spokesman for good health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Ad Council announced that Shrek will be a featured addition to its "Small Step" obesity-prevention campaign, which encourages children and families to lead healthful lifestyles.

Shareholders in the Reader's Digest Association voted overwhelmingly Feb. 2 to approve the company's proposed $2.4 billion acquisition by Ripplewood Holdings, putting the deal on track to close this month. But it remains unclear how Ripplewood's plan to install industry veteran Mary G. Berner as president-CEO will affect the ranks at Reader's Digest.
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