Sanofi Sticks With Optimedia for $480 Million Global Account

Review Was Sparked by Spate of Acquisitions

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Sanofi-Aventis, the fourth-largest pharmaceutical company in the world, has decided to keep its $480 million global media planning and buying account with incumbent Publicis Groupe's Optimedia, after a review that began back in late May, according to executives with knowledge of the situation.

The agency and marketer did not return calls for comment before press time.

An executive with knowledge of the process, which was run from the company's Paris headquarters, said it marked the first time the company had reviewed in nine years and that it was sparked by a recent spate of Sanofi acquisitions. "Sanofi has been acquiring a lot of companies and it now has five or six different agencies to deal with and it was looking to consolidate that business under one roof," the executive said. Other contenders for the business aren't known.

Those acquisitions include Chattem in the U.S., Kernpharm in the Netherlands, Laboratorios Gramon in Argentina and Oenobiol in France. It has also set up an agreement to establish a new consumer health-care joint venture in China with Minsheng Pharmaceutical Co. And in June Sanofi announced that it had signed an agreement to acquire TargeGen, a privately held U.S.-based biopharmaceutical company that specializes in the treatment of certain forms of leukemia, lymphoma and other blood disorders.

Sanofi's pharmaceutical offerings, which generated $33.2 billion in sales in 2009, include allergy medicine Allegra, sleep medication Ambien and blood pressure medication Aprovel. And among its consumer product brands are Nature's Own, Maalox and Bio Organics. The company is the fifth-largest producer of consumer health-care products with sales of $1.8 billion globally in 2009.

Optimedia recently won Orbitz's $36 million media account. Optimedia currently works for a number of major marketers including T-Mobile, L'Oreal, Garnier, Maybelline New York, Cartier, Whirlpool, Kitchen-Aid and Denny's.

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