Whitehall-Robins Mulls $235 Mil. Review

NEW YORK—Whitehall-Robins, the consumer health products subsidiary of drugmaker American Home Products, is considering a $235 million media planning review, sources said. The chief concern of the Madison, N.J.-based marketer of Advil is that the client’s in-house media buying and planning group, John F. Murray Advertising, doesn’t have the adequate resources the company needs to remain competitive, sources said. Media buying is not expected to go into review. Sharing planning duties with Murray are Grey in New York, which handles creative and media planning for brands such as Preparation H and Advil; and Interpublic Group’s Universal McCann in New York, which does media planning for Dimetapp and Anbesol.

TBWA\Chiat\Day Seeks President

NEW YORK—TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York is looking for a new president, as current president Carl Johnson moves solely into his global role as chief operating officer at TBWA Worldwide, Johnson confirmed. The agency is in the early stages of a search, with the assistance of a recruiter. Johnson, who has spoken to a handful of candidates, hopes to fill the post by year’s end.

Tempus Challenges WPP’s Withdrawal Attempt

NEW YORK—The official body governing mergers and acquisitions in Britain, the Takeover Panel, is expected to rule today on the formal rebuttal British holding company Tempus submitted last week to rival U.K. holding company WPP Group. The rebuttal protests WPP’s attempt to withdraw its $629 million cash offer to buy Tempus by citing “material adverse changes” in Tempus’ value. Tempus is arguing any change in its value is the result of an industry wide economic downturn, not a specific defect in the company’s finances. WPP’s offer for Tempus is extended until today, at which time it can go through with the purchase or seek more time, unless the Takeover Panel rules on the invocation of the MAC clause. Either side can appeal the panel’s decision.

Layoffs Hit 2 Agencies

LOS ANGELES—TBWA\Chiat\Day has laid off 2-3 percent of the staff—about 15-20 people—at its three U.S. offices, a company representative confirmed. He declined to give a specific number for the layoff totals. The agency employs about 470 staffers in Playa del Rey, Calif., 200 in New York and 90 in San Francisco. Separately, Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners in San Francisco has laid off 10 employees, or 16 percent of its staff, a week after the shop lost the $30 million PeopleSoft account to BBDO in New York.

Account Activity

Blimpie is expected to name a consultant this week to handle the review for its estimated $10 million account, sources said. The client had contacted 6-10 consultancies. Blimpie split last month with Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners in New York, which will likely not defend, sources said. … Symbol Technologies in Holtsville, N.Y., has named three finalists for its $10-15 million account: DDB and DraftWorldwide in New York, and Atlanta’s DWP/Bates Technology. New York consultancy MatchWorks is managing the review. … Slendertone is seeking a shop for its $10-20 million U.S. account, sources said.