Hotline

Saatchi Shares Surge Amid Deal Rumors
NEW YORK–Saatchi & Saatchi PLC’s share price, which opened last Friday in London at 148 pence, has risen by around 30 percent over the past month. The increase coincides with speculation that the company is the acquisition target of Havas Advertising as well as Maurice and Charles Saatchi. Saatchi executives flatly denied the agency was in talks with Havas, as did executives at the French company. Saatchi executives also dismissed rumors that the brothers were attempting to marshal capital to launch a bid to reclaim Saatchi. Maurice Saatchi did not return calls. Charlie Scott, Saatchi & Saatchi PLC chairman, said, “I don’t believe our people or our clients buy this scenario . . . Why doesn’t Maurice confirm in public what he wants to do?”
Fallon Plans London Office
CHICAGO–Fallon McElligott last week said it intends to open an office in London by summer even if it does not win client Lee Apparel’s overseas account, which it is pitching. The Minneapolis agency previously had suggested that a London expansion was dependent on an account win.
Group Publicis CEO to Mediate Dispute
PARIS–Maurice Lƒvy, chief executive of Groupe Publicis, will mediate a stock dispute involving the two daughters of late founder Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet. Lƒvy will try to settle an ongoing battle between Michle Bleustein-Blanchet, who wants to cede her shares in the family-owned Publicis holding company called Somarel as well as her shares held directly in the agency, and her sister, Elisabeth Badinter. Should Bleustein-Blanchet divest her stake (worth up to about 20 percent), it could result in the family losing majority control of the agency.
Account Activity
Nick at Nite/TV Land, New York, is contacting shops about an estimated $10 million account, said sources. Mad Dogs & Englishmen handles creative for the Viacom channel. Ammirati Puris Lintas does media buying Mirage Resorts has awarded an estimated $20-30 million in additional business to Hal Riney & Partners, San Francisco, which picked up duties for the Bellagio resort in Las Vegas Microsoft Corp. has moved print and online advertising duties for its consumer software and hardware brands from Wieden & Kennedy to Anderson & Lembke in San Francisco, following the client’s realignment of several product groups. A&L previously handled the business. Billings are estimated at $10 million. Outback Steakhouse is considering three shops for creative chores on its estimated $30 million account. They are: Ground Zero, Santa Monica, Calif.; Partners & Shevack, New York; and TBWA Chiat/Day, New York. Incumbent McCann-Erickson, New York, is not participating Fallon McElligott in Minneapolis has won a Nordstrom branding assignment estimated at $20-30 million. The other finalist was Saatchi & Saatchi in Los Angeles E! Entertainment Television is talking to shops about ad projects, sources said. The client spent $5 million in 1997. E! does media buying in-house and uses outside shops for creative duties.