Last week's seventeen-strong crosstown exodus from the New York office of Saatchi & Saatchi to Interpublic Group [WAMN: 18-Feb-05] culminated in the inking of seventeen letters of intent to join the world's number three advertising company.

It emerged over the weekend that the migrants - all of whom worked on Saatchi's General Mills business - had each signed a letter of agreement to join IPG.

Speculation is rife as to their exact destination. One rumor is that seventeen new desks have been bought by one of IPG's smaller New York units Campbell Mithun - already a General Mill roster shop.

Other gossip has it that IPG plans a new standalone unit with the banner "youth, family, health and wellness" flapping from its flagpole.

Curiously, however, one name is conspicuous by its absence from the latest round of speculation: Mike Burns, Saatchi's quondam worldwide account director on the General Mills business whose abrupt departure sparked the exodus.

But the $630 million (€485.14m; £333.44m) question is whither goest GM?

Few on Madison Avenue believe it will remain anchored to Saatchi after the mass departure of its account-handling team. And even fewer that IPG will have committed itself to seventeen high-ticket pay packages without some gilt-edged assurances.

Data sourced from AdWeek (USA); additional content by WARC staff