REJECTED, AGAIN: Taubman Centers Inc. said its board unanimously rejected the revised $20 per share cash offer from Simon Property Group in conjunction with a subsidiary of Westfield America Trust, calling Simon’s third offer "inadequate, opportunistic and clearly not in the best interests of Taubman Centers shareholders." Robert S. Taubman, chairman, president and chief executive, said he believes this is not the right time to sell, noting the company has a strong track record and has achieved the sector’s highest funds from operations per share growth rate for the first nine months of 2002. Additionally, he noted, a number of its properties are at early stages in their development cycle and are expected to generate increasing returns over the next few years.

WATCHING BENETTON: Benetton and watchmaker Sector have struck a deal to roll out a new line of United Colors of Benetton timepieces. The line is expected to generate sales of about $191.1 million over the five years of the contract, while advertising expenses for that period should be at least $15.9 million. The line, which bows in the second half of the year, will be available in select watch stores and Benetton sales points. Sector, controlled by Bulgari-led fund Opera, wants to expand its brand portfolio. It recently signed a pact to produce Valentino’s watches.

LANG’S P.R. PLAN: Helmut Lang named Tanja Ruhnke press director for the U.S. and Japan. Ruhnke, formerly a senior publicist at KCD, will join Helmut Lang in-house Feb. 3 and will report to the designer and to Ed Filipowski, president of KCD, who will continue to handle global press strategy. Jenny Kim has also been promoted at Helmut Lang to associate press director. Press and advertising operations had most recently been handled by Kim Stringer, a vice president, who left the company in November.

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