TITLE

Sears severs ties to Focus Media, takes legal steps

AUTHOR(S)
Friedman, Wayne
PUB. DATE
March 2000
SOURCE
Advertising Age;3/20/2000, Vol. 71 Issue 12, p3
SOURCE TYPE
Trade Publication
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This article focuses on the decision of Sears, Roebuck & Co. to fire and bring legal actions against media agency Focus Media Inc. in the U.S. In March 2000, Sears awarded 200 million U.S. dollars in television (TV) and radio spending formerly at Focus to WPP Group's MindShare USA in Chicago and New York City. Sears on March 13, 2000, filed a lawsuit against Focus in Superior Court of the State of California in Los Angeles. In the suit, Sears said it does not know the full extent of outstanding bills owed to TV stations but specified that it amounts to at least 3.6 million U.S. dollars. That figure represents the total owed to two media outlets, Turner Broadcasting Co. and Univision Communications Inc., which filed affidavits within the Sears' complaint. Barry Langberg, an attorney representing Sears, said the retailer received a temporary restraining order preventing Focus from disposing, transferring or in any way reducing the Sears funds which it possesses or controls. According to the suit, Sears has an oral agreement with Focus for its media services; Langberg said the agreement requires Focus to pay media bills within 30 days of invoice. Sears could be responsible for funds owed, however, depending on whether Focus was an agent of Sears in the legal sense of the word. The suit has fueled talk that Focus soon will file for protection under the U.S. bankruptcy code. For the last 10 years, Focus has handled the Sears account, buying advertising time on syndication, cable TV, local TV and radio and on Hispanic media outlets. Now MindShare will handle syndication, local, network and cable TV as well as spot radio and infomercials.
ACCESSION #
2906898

 

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