CARAT EXITS BANK OF AMERICA PITCH

Four Shops Left in Race for $160 Million Account

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Aegis Group's Carat USA exited the $160 million Bank of America media review, now down to four agencies.

The finalists contending

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Buying and Planning Account Currently With Initiative
for the account are the New York agencies Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative Media; Omnicom Group's PHD; and Zenith Media, owned by Publicis Groupe and Cordiant Communications Group; and Chicago-based Bcom3 Group's Starcom.

Carat's departure was attributed to a wish to avoid potential conflicts with Bank One, whose media buying and planning account Carat is believed to be close to winning.

Carat, Bank One and Bank of America did not return calls.