Inside Track: No sibling rivalry, new Campbell Mithun chief says

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Rob Buchner is the new CEO at Minneapolis ad agency Campbell Mithun.

Photo: Campbell Mithun,

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Rob Buchner, who’s taking the helm at Twin Cities ad agency Campbell Mithun after 24 years at Fallon, downplayed the notion last week that it will be a war for clients between the Buchner brother bosses. Mike Buchner is CEO at Fallon.

Rob Buchner, 50, pointed out that CM and Fallon don’t compete for many accounts. Fallon is known for its cutting-edge creative talent. CM is better known as a full-service agency, including market and consumer research, and a multidisciplinary approach to helping longtime clients like General Mills, Land O’Lakes and Chipotle grow over the long term.

Critics say Campbell Mithun has not won a major account in months. Buchner said his new outfit will get its share of new business and can do better at expanding existing ones. In internal meetings, Buchner has stressed the need to maximize CM’s “big toolbox” for clients, in order to deepen and expand the relationship with existing client companies.

“It’s really about tapping unrealized value with existing clients through greater depth of service and project work elsewhere with new clients,” Rob Buchner said last week. “It’s not a silver-bullet kind of thing. We’ve got room for clients in fast food, telecommunications, airlines. … It’s about forward momentum.”

 

details of state tax changes here …

Gov. Mark Dayton’s office has published “Budget for a Better Minnesota: What’s in it for Business” that makes the case for a session that some businesspeople have criticized as raising revenue too sharply through additional taxes. Dayton’s summary highlights the upfront tax exemption for capital equipment, unemployment insurance tax reduction, the health insurance exchange and a bevy of investments and business-specific subsidies, including the Mayo Clinic and Mall of America. Take a look: www.mn.gov/governor/budget/toolkit.

Minnesota Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans last week held a webcast about the new tax changes that take effect in the new fiscal year that begins July 1, including higher marginal income tax rates on the state’s top 2 percent earners and a little-discussed gift tax that imposes a 10 percent Minnesota tax on lifetime gifts in excess of $1 million. Go to the Revenue Department’s website to review the tax changes: www.revenue.state.mn.us/Pages/law_changes.

The Democrats say these tax increases are good investments in a healthier economy and a better-trained workforce. Detractors say they will move high-income people to low-tax Sun Belt states.

… and some funding IS HEADED here

The Minnesota Film and Production Jobs Program, dubbed “Snowbate,” got a $10 million appropriation out of the last session.

John Partilla, CEO of Olson, the Twin Cities’ largest advertising agency, heralded the resumption of state funding to woo film and commercial makers to film in Minnesota. Snowbate backers, including Minnesota Film and TV Executive Director Lucinda Winter say this will increase our ability to compete internationally for movie and TV production. They say the last time Snowbate received general-fund dollars, about $4.6 million between 2007 and 2011, the result was $28 million in additional spending, most of it wages.

“I will say … this is something we’re excited about because it gives us the opportunity to work with advertisers from all over the country,” Partilla said. “Snowbate really helps catapult Minnesota from a lesser competitive state to one of the top 15 states in terms of production incentive programs.

“We always do the University of Minnesota, the State Lottery, General Mills, Target and others here,” Partilla said. “This will absolutely compel us to do more work in Minnesota.”

 

state’s newest public company

Baudette, population 1,106 and “Walleye Capital of the World,” also is home to Minnesota’s newest public company.

BioSante Pharmaceuticals (ticker: BPAX) was born of a “reverse triangular merger” this month, involving privately held ANI Pharmaceuticals and ANIP Acquisition Corp. in Baudette and BioSante Pharmaceuticals, a public company based in Lincolnshire, Ill.

The board and management of ANI Pharmaceuticals, a manufacturer of pharmaceuticals, took control of the company, adopted the BioSante name and ended up with 57 percent of the outstanding stock of BioSante, $16 million in cash and the other assets of the BioSante business.

Arthur Przybyl, CEO of ANI Pharmaceuticals, became the CEO of the new BioSante, which has 85 full-time employees, most of them at two locations in Baudette, and about $20 million in annual revenue. The company would rank about No. 90 on the Star Tribune 100, our annual ranking of the state’s largest public companies by revenue.

Przybyl said BioSante was a biotechnology company whose lead product fizzled in clinical trials Przybyl said BioSante shareholders get a “different strategy from what they are used to but we give them a chance to grow.”

PATRICK KENNEDY

postscript on new french deal

Peter Kelsey, the irascible entrepreneur who started 30-plus years ago as a busboy, opened the New French Bakery in a tiny downtown space in the 1990s, expanded it like crazy and ended up selling it for unspecified millions recently to Chicago-based Arbor Investments. Arbor owns numerous food companies and plans to expand the two-plant, 300-employee New French operation. Kelsey said he was stuck earlier this year when he couldn’t raise $6 million from Wells Fargo or Bank of America to fund his expansion plan. His community banker was at its lending limit with New French. Kelsey, 56, who growls when he talks about big banks, was roaring last week over the fact that both he and Wells Fargo last spring received small business awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“Wells Fargo wouldn’t even give me a [$380,000] refinance on my mortgage because I’m self-employed,” said Kelsey, who added that he’s gotten a lot of calls in recent days from financial advisers who now find him an attractive proposition.

“A lot of entrepreneurs don’t fit with the MBA culture at the big banks.”

Wells Fargo had no comment on the irreverent Kelsey, who became a millionaire his way.

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