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
’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.