Colgate finally sells off laundry brands

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After more than two years of trying, Colgate-Palmolive Co. has found a buyer for an estimated $100 million North American laundry detergent business. It pulled the marketing plug on these brands more than a decade ago, after losing ground in this market to P&G-owned rivals and declaring its intention to focus on stronger, more profitable brands.

Phoenix Brands, an orphan brand company formed two years ago to buy such Unilever castoffs as Final Touch fabric softener, Rit dye and Sunlight dish soap, will pick up Fab, Dynamo, Actic Power, ABC, Cold Power and Fresh Start in North America and a license on Ajax detergent for the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Colgate retains Ajax in surface cleaners and dish soaps, though people familiar with the matter say the company has sought buyers in the past.

Colgate declined to disclose a price, but said it would use a $60 million after-tax gain to help offset about $50 million in restructuring charges and another $35 million in taxes on repatriation of $800 million in overseas profits this quarter. QwikFIND aaq74b

Magazine ad pages rise 1.8% for first half

Magazines made slim gains in ad pages for the first half of the year, rising 1.8% over the same period last year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Star from American Media led the celebrity-glossy pack in percentage gains, increasing 26.3% to 434.9 pages. Bauer Publishing's In Touch Weekly racked up a 24.6% gain for a total of 296 ad pages. Ad pages at Wenner Media's Us Weekly rose 16.2%, to 908.7, while pages at Time Inc.'s People grew 10%, to 1,870.3. Ad pages rose in nine of 12 major categories tracked by the bureau, led by financial, insurance and real estate advertising, which grew 15.5%, and closely followed by food and food products ad pages, which increased 13.7%. See the complete chart online at QwikFIND aaq74j

Subway begins search for new marketing chief

Subway Restaurants is beginning a search for a new marketing head after Chris Carroll, the executive who made spokes-dieter Jared Fogle a brand icon, announced he would resign on Sept. 30. Mr. Carroll, senior VP-director of marketing of Subway Restaurants' global Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, told Ad Age he made the decision two months ago and that he plans to take time off to evaluate his next career move. "I want to get into something where I can get into general management and parlay everything I've done here," he said. Since joining the sandwich chain in 1999, same-store sales have grown more than 30%, and the number of restaurants has doubled at the closely held company, said Tom Seddon, CEO of the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust. Advertising media spending has grown from $90 million to more than $300 million during the same period. QwikFIND aaq74c

Time Warner Cable wins suit against AMC

Rainbow Media's AMC breached its carriage contract with Time Warner Cable by shifting its focus to more contemporary films rather than the classic, pre-1960 movies that used to compose the network's lineup, a New York Supreme Court judge ruled July 8. The decision allows TWC to drop AMC from its channel lineup immediately; the cable operator said in a statement "we are presently evaluating our relationship with the network going forward."A spokesman for Rainbow Media said, "We disagree with the judge's ruling and plan to appeal immediately." QwikFIND aaq73z

Rumors swirl about possible ABC Radio spinoff

Thought the days of radio consolidation were over? Wrong. Rumors of an ABC Radio sale are again swirling, fueled by Wall Street Journal speculation that it will structure a multi-step tax-free spinoff and a New York Post report that Sirius's Mel Karmazin may be courting Disney's radio division. Sirius denies the rumor, and ABC has no comment regarding a possible sale, although a Merill Lynch report noted Disney has hired an investment bank-rumored to be Goldman Sachs-to look into a potential sale. An ABC spokeswoman did say, "ABC Radio is a wonderful asset. It's an exceptionally well-managed group that is a consistent contributor to Walt Disney Co." Several potential buyers have been floated, including Emmis, Citadel, Cox and Radio One. If the radio groups are separated from the radio network, which syndicates such personalities as and Sean Hannity, a potential buyer for the network could emerge in Westwood One.


Omnicom Group is buying 70% of the polling shop headed by Frank Luntz, one of the capital's best-known pollsters. QwikFIND aaq74f ... WPP Group's Y&R has won the $35 million to $40 million Hilton Hotel account. Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote Cone & Belding was the incumbent. QwikFIND aaq74v

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