Publicis wins battle to spike pounds 68m True North damages bid

Publicis has beaten off an attempt by True North, its former global partner, to snatch pounds 68 million worth of damages in the wake of their bitter divorce three years ago.

Publicis has beaten off an attempt by True North, its former global

partner, to snatch pounds 68 million worth of damages in the wake of

their bitter divorce three years ago.



The verdict by the London Court of International Arbitration ends what

has been the most vicious dispute ever seen between global agency

networks.



The court threw out a claim by True North, the US-based FCB parent

company, that it was entitled to the money as compensation for losses

sustained after a restructure at Publicis allowed the two companies to

split.



True North claimed that the 8.8 per cent Publicis stake it ended up with

was inadequate.



True North’s lawsuit enraged Maurice Levy, the chief executive of

Publicis, who claimed it amounted to harassment, and accused True

North’s then chairman, Bruce Mason, of pursuing a vendetta against

him.



Lawyers for Publicis argued that the network had conformed fully with

all its obligations to True North, having had the deal examined by the

merchant bank, Lazard Freres, financial consultants, Ernst & Young, and

independent experts.



Levy described the verdict as ’thoroughly clear and definitive’. He

added: ’I can only regret that the former management of True North

thought it useful to undertake such a procedure.’



True North sold its 800,000 shares in Publicis in June last year.

Publicis remains True North’s largest shareholder with a 10 per cent

stake.



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