Mark Penn's MDC-Stagwell merger faces more opposition

Hi and welcome to Insider Advertising for June 4. I’m deputy editor Lucia Moses, filling in for Lauren Johnson, and here’s what’s going on:

  • MDC-Stagwell merger opposition.
  • Google search rival prepped.
  • MoviePass settlement.

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Tips, comments, suggestions? Drop me a line at [email protected] or on Twitter at @lmoses.

MDC Partners’ proposed merger with Stagwell is facing growing investor opposition

  • MDC Partners’ planned merger with Stagwell Group faces mounting opposition from MDC investors, Patrick Coffee reports.
  • After The Wall Street Journal reported Indaba Capital Management intended to vote against the deal, two other investors said they also thought MDC shareholders should own more and that they believed the proposed merger faced significant risks.
  • It’s unclear how broad the investor opposition is, but if the merger fails, it would end Mark Penn’s goal of creating the world’s eighth-largest ad holding company.

Read the story.

Neeva, the ad-free subscription search startup built by ex-Googlers, is readying a July launch and pledging to share 20% of its revenue with publishers

  • Ad-free subscription search engine Neeva is readying a July launch, Lara O’Reilly reports.
  • It’s founded by ex-Googlers and will be an ad-free, privacy-focused search engine that requires a monthly subscription, set at around $5.
  • They’re betting people will be willing to pay for a privacy-focused search product that favors useful results over driving users to view ads.

Read the story.

Former MoviePass execs agree to $400,000 settlement with 4 California District Attorneys’ offices who had alleged ‘unlawful business practices’

  • Ex-MoviePass executives Mitch Lowe and Ted Farnsworth reached a settlement agreement requiring them to pay $400,000 in penalties and restitution, Jason Guerrasio reports.
  • According to a settlement, the pair allegedly engaged in a variety of “unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent acts and practices” including falsely advertising and charging customers after they canceled their subscriptions.
  • MoviePass soared in popularity but burned through hundreds of millions of dollars and ended up shutting down in September 2019.

Read the story.

Other stories we’re reading:

  • Facebook to end special treatment for politicians after Trump ban (The Verge)
  • 50 founders and VCs dish on what it’s like to work with Jason Calacanis, Silicon Valley’s polarizing, Howard Stern-inspired angel investor (Insider)
  • Pershing Square SPAC nears transaction with Universal Music Group (WSJ)
  • Adtech firm Criteo is betting its non-retargeting business will soon be 30% of revenue as it preps for cookie phase-out (Insider)
  • Clubhouse’s iOS downloads continued to plummet in May, but its Android launch has given it a shot in the arm (Insider)

Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow. You can reach me in the meantime at [email protected] and subscribe to this daily email here.

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