Interpublic Merges Bozell and Lowe

NEW YORK, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Interpublic Group of Cos. Inc. IPG.N , the world's second-largest advertising group, said on Friday it will merge its Bozell unit, which created the "Got milk?" campaign, with the New York office of Lowe & Partners Worldwide to strengthen operations.

Interpublic has been weighing bids for its market research group NFO to help it provide relief to its cash-starved balance sheet. On Monday the company said it was borrowing an extra $500 million.

Interpublic shares fell more than 10 percent this week as its stock touched 10-year lows. Analysts cited concerns over costs from the new credit, loss of the Coke Classic account and legal fees related to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into the company.

Interpublic said on Friday that the Bozell brand will be retired and the resulting agency will be known as Lowe New York. Bozell is also based in New York.

Gary Goldsmith, Lowe's U.S. chairman and chief creative officer, and Paul Hammersley, chief executive for Lowe in New York, will retain their current responsibilities.

Tom Bernardin, previously president and chief executive of Bozell, will join Lowe as president and chief operating officer in New York.

Lowe & Partners was founded in 1981 and is currently ranked fourth among worldwide agency groups, Interpublic said. It has offices in more than 80 countries. New York is its flagship office.

by Steve Hall    Feb-16-03   Click to Comment   

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