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Corbis Acquires Leading Product Placement Agency

It can be tough sometimes for reporters to liven up a dry bit of business news such as the acquisition of LA’s Norm Marshall & Associates by the Bill Gates-owned Corbis. But tipped ahead of Monday’s press release, New York Times writer Stuart Elliott managed to add some good color.

That’s because Marshall is a seasoned, fun interview. In addition to telling Elliott that his movie and TV product placement agency has previously turned down more than a half-dozen acquisition offers, he had this response when the reporter inquired about the Microsoft-minted price tag:

Mr. Marshall and [Corbis exec] Mr. Shenk said they could not discuss the financial terms of the deal. “Bill has a thing about not divulging financial stuff,” Mr. Marshall said, referring to Mr. Gates, adding that Mr. Shenk had told him, “‘Norm, if I do it, Bill will fire me.’”

NMA Group, founded in 1979, will retain Marshall as CEO and expand his responsibilities to also include Corbis division GreenLight, which handles posthumous celebrity licensing. The deal comes on the heels of last summer’s purchase by Corbis of another LA firm, Splash News.

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