Dirty Laundry: Valassis, News America Publish Evidence Lists for Coming Federal Trial

Last Updated Jan 14, 2010 12:44 PM EST

Valassis (VCI) and News America Marketing Group have both filed their exhibit lists for the upcoming federal trial over whether NAM maintains a monopoly on supermarket advertising.

Valassis claims NAM has signed clients and supermarkets into restrictive contracts on those little but enormously lucrative ads that appear on shelves and checkouts at your local grocer, giving Rupert Murdoch's NAM a virtual monopoly. The exhibits offer some clues to what Valassis and NAM's trial strategies might be.

Valassis' 69-page list is heavy on internal emails and documents from NAM, including its communications with its clients. NAM clients will doubtless be unhappy at seeing their previously private conversations with the agency being aired in public again (as they were in a state court trial that ended last summer).

NAM's 158-page list seems to focus more on publicly available documents about Valassis' strategy to compete with NAM. It includes several documents that relate to Valassis CEO Al Schultz, including an FTC complaints against Schultz from 2006.

Here's a sample of material from both lists:
  • Valassis exhibits:
  • Sales summit videos from 2002 through 2006, featuring NAM CEO Paul Carlucci, president Dominick Porco, president Chris Mixson and others.
  • NAM executive committee minutes from 2000 - 2002
  • Ahold contracts
  • Albertsons contracts
  • NAM's communications with Sara Lee, Campbell, Revlon, L'Oreal, Coca Cola and many others.
  • NAM exhibits:
  • Board of directors meeting materials 2000 - 2008
  • A Valassis presentation to Smuckers
  • FTC's complaint against Al Schultz from 2006.
  • A Georgia-Pacific email to Schultz from 2006
  • Communications to and from Valassis clients such as Wyeth
And finally: I'll be very interested to see what Valassis's lawyers intend to do with the five BNET stories on the case that it has listed as exhibits, and one exhibit titled:
Bnet Jim Edwards Email re: Re: News America Marketing Announces Purchase of Floorgraphics' Network of In-Store Contracts and Other Assets
That email appears to relate to this BNET story, about NAM's allegation that assets it acquired from Floorgraphics turned out to not exist. Unfortunately, a search of my email archive has failed to turn up the email referred to on the list -- damn you, Microsoft! -- and I can't remember sending or receiving such an email, so I'll find out what it's all about at the same time as everyone else.

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