01 January 1998

THE DISCOVERY last September of significant circulation overstatements by Reed Elsevier's hotel and travel division has culminated in an offer to compensate advertisers to the tune of £200m. Initially, it was estimated that RE's liability was unlikely to exceed £125m but the figure has risen progressively as investigations progressed. Mark Armour, RE's finance director, believes the compensation plan is 'very fair and equitable', adding hopefully, 'we trust [advertisers] will see it like that'. The total cost of the affair, including compensation, legal, professional and investigative fees, is likely to reach £405m. Reed Travel Group, in whose fiefdom the scams occurred, is to be split between two other RE divisions and its chief executive Kathy Misunas is leaving the company. RE stressed that no blame attaches to Ms Misunas who "had played a leading part in the investigation'.