Two separate statements from News Corp. appear to indicate that the company's News America Marketing — which handles its obscure but lucrative grocery coupon and in-store supermarket advertising advertising business — has lost 8,200 stores from its network.
It could be the beginning of a costly ad client mutiny for Rupert Murdoch's News, which has already seen Rite Aid, Family Dollar and Dial Corp. turn against it. Those store networks and advertisers are angry at News after litigation revealed it allegedly used illegal monopolistic practices to keep prices artificially high for its advertisers. news settled those allegations — which came from competing coupon and in-store agencies — for $656 million.
Dial Corp. then sued News, alleging it held an unfair monopoly over certain stores. Rite Aid and Family Dollar removed their stores from News sometime in early January.
On Jan. 3, News put out a press release stating that it had a store network of "50,300 retail stores." That's 8,200 fewer stores than what its corporate web site states, where it claims 58,500 stores. News cited two different dates in those statements, with the more recent date showing the lower number.
A News spokesperson did not respond to a message requesting comment.
It's not clear whether the Rite Aid and Family Dollar moves account for the reduction in stores served by News. A source told Business Insider previously that, combined, the two clients' chains added up to 11,900 stores.
The job of fixing this situation falls to Paul Carlucci, the CEO of News America who lost his role as publisher of The New York Post in December after its iPad news product, The Daily, folded. Carlucci was the chief at News America during the period in which the litigation — the source of News' current troubles in the packaged goods business — emerged.
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