True North gives up lawsuit as Publicis wrangle nears end

True North and Publicis are on the brink of ending their ill-starred marriage amid more accusation and counter-accusation from the warring parties.

True North and Publicis are on the brink of ending their

ill-starred marriage amid more accusation and counter-accusation from

the warring parties.



The acrimony was renewed as Publicis shareholders last week agreed a

restructuring allowing True North to sever its links by transforming its

non-publicly traded investment into publicly traded shares.



Earlier, True North said it was pulling back from legal action to recoup

the $30 million it claimed would be lost to it in the divorce settlement

(Campaign, 4 December).



Instead, it agreed to have the valuation of its stake determined by a

panel from the London Court of International Arbitration in

February.



’Hopefully, this is the beginning of the last chapter of a very bad

book,’ Bruce Mason, the True North chief executive, commented.



But Maurice Levy, the Publicis chairman, hit out at what he called the

’confused behaviour and contradictory statements’ by True North, which

he accused of trying to initiate fruitless legal actions in London and

at the Chicago Federal Court.



Earlier, True North, the largest shareholder in Publicis, had voted

against a merger of Publicis SA and Publicis Communication, a non-public

subsidiary in which True North has a 26.3 per cent stake.



True North had claimed that the disposal of its 8.8 per cent in the

merged Publicis operation would result in a pre-tax loss of almost $30

million in the fourth quarter of the year.



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