news wire

– BDM to Unveil New Name
CHICAGO–The Leo Group and The MacManus Group are expected to announce the official name of their new holding company on Tuesday. Since the two announced their intention to merge last November, the organization has been using BDM Inc. as a temporary moniker. Executives declined comment. Executives are also expected to finalize Dentsu’s 20 percent stake in the company and a possible umbrella organization for its media operations.
– Kushell Leaves Hill, Holliday President Post
BOSTON–A search is on to replace Chuck Kushell as president of Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in New York. Kushell, who helped rebuild the New York operation in his four-year tenure, adding such clients as Priceline, Minolta and Popeye’s, is leaving to start an Internet company, agency executives said. Executive creative officer Dave Wecal has been named acting chief.
– Burnett Drops Out of $300 Mil. Compaq Review
CHICAGO–Leo Burnett has withdrawn from the pitch for Compaq Computer’s $300 million account. The agency declined comment. Still competing for the Houston computer company’s business are incumbent DDB Worldwide, FCB Worldwide and Grey Advertising, all New York. Pitches are scheduled for the first week of April, and a decision is expected shortly thereafter.
– FCB Pulls Out of $100 Mil. Penney’s Pitch
CHICAGO–FCB Worldwide dropped out of the review for J.C. Penney’s $100 million account after an initial meeting revealed “strategic differences,” the agency said. Incumbent Temerlin McClain, Dallas, is not defending. Contenders are: BBDO Worldwide, McCann-Erickson, Saatchi & Saatchi, all New York; and DDB’s Chicago and Dallas offices.
– Draft Acquires Stake in AG Worldwide
CHICAGO–DraftWorldwide has acquired a majority stake in AG Worldwide and its subsidiary Surge Interactive. AG retains its name and management while chairman and executive creative director Peter Arnell joins DraftWorldwide’s executive committee. Draft is owned by the Interpublic Group of Cos. Terms were not disclosed.
– Seeks Shop for $25 Mil. Account new york– is seeking an agency for its $25 million account, which BBDO here resigned just a few weeks after winning. Scott Messinger, evp, director of marketing, said he wants a global shop that “understands the human-animal bond.”
– IPG, Hadala Settle $340 Mil. Defamation Suit
NEW YORK–Interpublic Group of Cos. and former Ammirati Puris Lintas CEO Rick Hadala have settled Hadala’s $340 million breach of contract and defamation lawsuit out of court. Neither side would discuss the terms, which came just weeks after IPG moved to appeal an arbitration panel decision in favor of former Lowe & Partners/SMS executive Marvin Sloves [Adweek, Feb. 14]. IPG general counsel Nick Camera said, “Litigation is not something you pursue with joy. It’s something you do when you have to.”
– Publicis, DeWitt Seal the Deal
NEW YORK–DeWitt Media here was acquired by Publicis, S.A. DeWitt and the Paris-based holding company’s U.S. media operations will combine to form a U.S. division of Optimedia International, Publicis’ global media network, with $1.25 billion in claimed billings [Adweek, March 6]. DeWitt chairman and CEO Gene DeWitt will serve as chairman and CEO of the U.S. division.
– Passengers Behind Leo’s Delta Effort
CHICAGO–Leo Burnett’s first global brand campaign for Delta Air Lines takes the passenger’s point of view to focus on the carrier’s services and benefits. TV spots show people in airports with thought bubbles above their heads. A voiceover asks, “How do you want to fly?” Although the campaign has no tag, each spot ends with a shot of a Delta luggage tag with a request, such as “listened to” or “more for me.” Burnett won the Atlanta carrier’s $100 million global business in September following a review.
– Future of Focus May Rest With Sears
LOS ANGELES–Sears and roster media shop Focus Media have drawn up a new contract, which, if signed by the client, could save the struggling Santa Monica, Calif.-based media agency, sources said. Focus is defending its $200 million share of Sears’ media chores in the client’s ongoing consolidation while embroiled in a dispute with various media over unpaid bills related to former clients. The company is also suffering from the layoffs, firings and resignations of dozens of staffers in recent months.
– Newswire Roundup
The Sports Authority has awarded WestWayne and Horizon Media creative and media duties, respectively, for its $30 million account., Maynard, Mass., is consolidating its advertising accounts in the U.K., France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Ireland, and launching a review, the client confirmed. Mullen has landed creative chores for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Toronto, topping Ogilvy & Mather and Margeotes/Fertitta & Partners, New York, and Leo Burnett, Chicago. The client spent about $10 million in 1999. Gotham won Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield’s $10 million account, topping incumbent CPS Partners, Woburn, Mass., and fellow New York shops EPB Communications and Avrett, Free & Ginsberg. The agency also won $30-35 million in business-to-business ad duties for surplus exchange site, Ardsley, N.Y.