LEAP WIRELESS TAPS BUTLER SHINE

San Francisco Agency to Handle $20-$25 Million Account

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Leap Wireless International is in final contract negotiations with independent San Francisco ad agency Butler Shine Stern & Partners for its $20 million to $25 million account, company executives said today.

Butler, Shine won the pitch following

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a review that included independent Bernstein-Rein, Kansas City, and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Suissa Miller, Los Angeles.

The San Diego-based Leap spun off from Qualcomm in 1998. Leap filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2003 and is expected to emerge later this year or next year. Its Cricket Communications unit, with 1.5 million subscribers in 40 markets in 20 states, provides unlimited flat-rate local-calling service aimed at consumers who do not have land line phones.

Leap's incumbent ad agency, Johnson Group, Chattanooga, Tenn., declined to participate. Select Resources International, West Hollywood, Calif., supervised the review.

Butler, Shine, a 10-year-old agency, has 70 employees and billings of almost $100 million. Current clients include retailer Anchor Blue, regional HMO Health Net, software maker Ubi Soft, Noah's Bagels and Weider Nutrition.

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