Contract publishers Premier Media and Redwood in merger

Omnicom is preparing to merge Premier Media Partners, the publisher

of British Airways' in-flight magazines, into its fellow contract

publisher, Redwood, as the holding company reacts to a crisis sweeping

in-flight publishing.



An official announcement on the merger is expected next week, ending

almost 30 years of independence for Premier. The move will raise a

question mark over the future of its chief executive, Craig Waller, who

founded Premier with the former chairman, Bill Davis, in the early

70s.



The loss of ad revenue to in-flight magazines in the wake of the

atrocities is believed to have been the final factor pushing Omnicom

into the merger.



Premier's business had become increasingly dependent on the BA account

after the loss of its Asda and Vauxhall accounts in 1999. It defended

its contract to publish BA's High Life and Business Life after a pitch

in November, but sources close to the pitch suggested that its profit

margins were slashed.



Redwood and Premier were unavailable for comment as Campaign went to

press.



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