CIA Medianetwork is fighting to retain its 2.7m Fuji media buying account in the week that it has received writs from Laser’s four ITV broadcasters and an invoice from TSMS.
Fuji’s contract with the media buyer finishes at the end of this year and the film manufacturing company is believed to be seeing other agencies.
CIA – along with New PHD – has also dropped off the shortlist for Visa’s 50m pan-European media review. An internal CIA source blames the dispute with Laser for Visa’s decision.
Granada, LWT and Border issued a writ against CIA in the High Court this week after YTTV issued one last week.
The writs claim 979,358 is owed to the broadcasters, plus interest. CIA has until the second week of December to respond to the writs.
TSMS has also entered the dispute, reportedly sending CIA an invoice for 1.8m.
CIA offered last week to pay cash to settle its 1995 debt with Laser. However, a complete settlement was rejected by Laser because it included rolling some of 1996’s debt into 1997. Laser is believed to be trying to squeeze a copper-bottomed deal out of CIA for 1997. CIA has little room to manoeuvre because it has already agreed a share deal with Carlton for 1997.
The source of the entire dispute is understood to be the transfer in February 1996 of 4,097,536 from CIA Medianetwork’s books to its Scottish subsidiary Morgan CIA. The money was spent on Carlton Sales’ Central and Carlton regions but was moved to help balance CIA’s 1995 deal with Laser – which did not include Morgan CIA’s spend.
The transfer was approved by CIA’s board, partly to boost the profits of its then newly created joint venture Morgan CIA.
If the transfer had remained undetected, Laser could have been put in a position where it would have owed CIA an extra discount – perhaps amounting to 500,000.
It is unknown if Carlton, where the 4.1m was spent, was aware that CIA had transferred the money.
It is believed Laser was also spurred into action by an aborted plan last year between a different media-buying agency and a rival ITV sales house which involved a pro forma credit note being used to balance a Laser deal.