Hotline

Another Shareholder Suit Hits IPG

NEW YORK—A federal class-action suit filed in the U.S. District Court in New York alleges that executives of Interpublic Group misled the investing public and caused the stock to be traded at inflated prices. The suit was filed in August by IPG stockholder Carole Wolf on behalf of purchasers of common IPG stock between Oct. 28, 1997 and Aug. 13, the day IPG reported a $68.5 million accounting imbalance. Wolf’s suit claims eight past and present top executives—including current CEO John Dooner and CFO Sean Orr, and former CEO Phil Geier—issued “false, misleading and incomplete information” about the company. In September, another shareholder, Henry Karpus, sued the company’s directors, alleging breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract and professional negligence. Separately, Moody’s Investors Service on Friday cut IPG’s senior debt ratings to one notch above “junk” status, saying the company will post “significantly larger” revenue and earnings shortfalls through 2003 than Moody’s expected.

IMS Wins Suit Against Carat

NEW YORK—A jury last week found in favor of Independent Media Services, awarding the company $7 million in its lawsuit against Aegis Group’s Carat USA. The suit alleged that Carat used information gained in 1999 merger talks with New York-based IMS to craft a winning pitch in the 2001 review for New Line Cinema’s $125 million business. New Line was IMS’ largest account, said Richard Blumenthal, co-CEO of the media shop. Originally, IMS asked for $30 million in damages [Adweek, Oct. 21].

Napier Jumps from P&G to McDonald’s

CHICAGO—Kay Napier, 47, a vp and general manager at Procter & Gamble, is joining McDonald’s Corp. as svp of marketing, a global post, the fast-food chain said. Napier, was brought in by Larry Light, the Oak Brook, Ill.-based chain’s new global chief marketing officer. Her initial focus will be the U.S., and she will be working with Bill Lamar, svp of marketing for McDonald’s USA.

News Roundup

John Farrell, worldwide CEO of D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, has accepted a top post at Publicis Groupe, sources said. Farrell could not immediately be reached. Farrell has been in negotiations with the agency for at least two weeks regarding a post as worldwide CEO of the holding company’s Specialized Agency Marketing Services. That offer came after Publicis, D’Arcy’s parent, said it would dissolve D’Arcy by year’s end. … Procter & Gam ble is set to launch Micro-Scopes breath strips in January via a campaign by D’Arcy in New York, sources said. D’Arcy is also working on a launch of P&G’s Crest Professional White Strips, sources said. Sources expect much of the $100 million P&G business there to move to Publicis in New York when D’Arcy is dissolved. .… Visa has contacted five shops for a creative review covering the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions, sources said. AMV BBDO, J. Walter Thompson, Lowe, possibly Grey, and incumbent Saatchi & Saatchi, all in London, received questionnaires for the $50-60 million business, sources said. BBDO in New York handles the client’s $250 million U.S. ad account, which is unaffected. AAR is the London consultancy managing the process.