Valassis taps Rob Mason for president of Advo after transaction close

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Rob Mason, senior vice president of retail and services at Valassis Communciations Inc., will be promoted to president of Advo Inc. effective at the close of the Valassis-Advo transaction.

Mr. Mason will assume general management and profit and loss responsibilities for Advo, also focusing on sales and marketing efforts. He will provide strategic direction for Wilton, CT-based Advo, working closely with leaders across Advo and Valassis.

Valassis, a Livonia, MI-based newspaper insert distributor, said on Dec. 19 it would buy fellow direct marketer Advo for $1.08 billion. The parties expect to close the transaction during the first quarter of 2007. Valassis sued Advo to void the original deal last August, accusing Advo management of misrepresenting the company's financial health.

Advo then filed a countersuit, saying Valassis had no right to back out of the agreement. As part of the deal, the companies have agreed to dismiss their litigation in the Court of Chancery for New Castle County, DE.

Valassis initially pursued Advo in hopes a deal would curb its reliance on newspaper inserts and let it take advantage of growing demand for targeted advertising.

The transaction will create the nation's largest integrated media services provider, featuring comprehensive product and customer offerings in the industry serving 20,000 advertisers worldwide, including 94 of the top 100 advertisers in the United States.

The combined company will be positioned to capture growth across the expanded product and service portfolio, delivering customized, targeted solutions on a national, regional, ZIP code, sub-ZIP code and household basis.

Advo's shared mail distribution business penetrates up to 114 million households, or 90 percent of U.S. homes, adding substantially to Valassis' weekly newspaper distribution of more than 60 million households.

The combined company will have 7,900 employees with operations in nine countries.

Under Mr. Mason's leadership in his current role, the retail and services division has grown to represent nearly $600 million in revenue. In the last two years, his division brought in more than 50 percent of all new customers to Valassis. His division has also seen significant growth within the preprint segment from the retail, food service, telecommunications and manufacturer customer verticals.

Prior to his recent role within Valassis, Mr. Mason was an account executive and director of sales for the company. Before joining Valassis in 1995, he held a variety of positions within the newspaper and printing industries.

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