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Publicis Courts Aegis Group, Reportedly Offered $2.8 Bil.

NEW YORK Publicis Groupe confirmed last week that it has held "very preliminary" talks with Aegis Group executives about acquiring the London-based parent of media agency network Carat. The confirmation came shortly after Aegis issued a statement indicating that it had been approached by an undisclosed company that made an offer valued at about $2.8 billion. Publicis has talked on and off with Aegis about an acquisition for years, sources said. The latest discussions came after The Bolloré Group, which now controls Havas, acquired more than 6 percent of Aegis in August.



Sawyer Moves Up as Deutsch CEO; Co-Presidents Named

NEW YORK As expected, IPG's Deutsch last week promoted COO Linda Sawyer to CEO of the agency, succeeding 47-year-old Donny Deutsch, who will remain chairman, the agency said. Sawyer, 44, has been COO of the company since 2001. She in turn named co-presidents of the New York and Marina del Rey, Calif., offices: Val DiFebo and Kathy Delaney in New York, and Mike Sheldon and Eric Hirshberg in Deutsch\LA. Sawyer is expected to name a new COO for the shop before the end of the year.



FCB to Defend CEO Blamer Against Lawsuit Filed by Grey

NEW YORK Foote Cone & Belding said it would "vigorously defend" its position in a lawsuit filed against it by WPP's Grey Global Group last week. Grey is seeking at least $1.6 million in damages for what it claims were contractual violations by FCB CEO Steve Blamer, who left Grey in January and now works with ex-Grey executive Steve Centrillo, who is CEO of FCB New York. Grey also named Blamer and FCB parent Interpublic Group as defendants for hiring Centrillo in the suit that was filed in New York State Supreme Court Sept. 21.



Office Depot to Narrow Finalists In $85 Million Review

NEW YORk Office Depot executives met with six agencies on Thursday and Friday, en route to selecting three or four finalists to pitch its estimated $85 million creative account, said sources. The shops include Omnicom's TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York, Publicis Groupe's The Kaplan Thaler Group in New York and Interpublic's The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., sources said. The incumbent, Omnicom's BBDO in New York, is not defending. Joanne Davis Consulting in New York is managing the process. Agencies were either unavailable or referred calls to Davis, who could not be reached.



Omnicom's PHD Broadens Worldwide Media Management

NEW YORK Omnicom Group is undertaking a major expansion of its PHD media agency network, as well as its media holding company management team, at Omnicom Media Group (OMG). The PHD expansion will take place across Asia Pacific, continental Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the ad agency holding company said. As part of the OMG management expansion, Mark Amabile, previously OMD Worldwide CFO, is now OMG CFO. An OMG global board has been established that includes, among others, Joe Uva, OMD Worldwide CEO, who adds the role of president, OMG, and David Pattison, PHD Worldwide CEO.



Six Shops Compete for JetBlue's $25 Million Account

Six New York agencies are competing to handle JetBlue's estimated $25 million creative and media account, including creative incumbent The Ad Store, an independent, sources said. The other shops are independents Taxi, Amalgamated and mcgarrybowen; WPP Group's JWT; and Publicis Groupe-backed Bartle Bogle Hegarty, said sources. The contenders, which either declined comment or did not return phone calls, have been briefed, and final presentations are scheduled for next month, according to sources. The media incumbent, independent Wieden + Kennedy in New York, is not defending. The review is being managed by New York consultancy Gilbert Taney Farley.