Supermarket Ad Settlement Slips on Aisle Two

By Kiran Aditham 

Thanks to the diligence of Jim Edwards at BNet, we’re now fully apprised of the bitter, winding turf war between rival coupon/supermarket ad agencies News America Marketing (owned by News Corp) and Livonia, MI-based Valassis.

The case goes back to last summer, when Valassis filed a “statement of material facts” in Michigan federal court listing eight NAM clients who were charged higher prices because they declined to cooperate with the latter’s “supermarket ad monopoly.” One of those clients was Sara Lee, whose former employee wrote a reactionary memo to NAM’s tactics that included this little line: “Feels like they are raping us and they enjoy it and there is no desire to work with us in partnership to grow our business.”

While the memo has now been rendered inadmissible because both agreed to a $500 million settlement last week, BNet reports that NAM has filed a motion just days later complaining that Valassis has already breached their pact. With the deal slowly collapsing, Edwards says this could be a genuine, shrewd move to delay considering that this deal could wipe out its profits from Avatar. Who are we to put it past ol’ Rupert?

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