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Agency Strengthens Hold on $800 Million Global Account

By Published on .

WOLFSBURG, Germany (AdAge.com) -- Volkswagen AG is believed to have decided to award U.S. media buying for Volkswagen of America's VW and Audi brands to Grey Global Group's MediaCom after a review that pitted the agency against Havas-owned incumbent MPG, according to an executive familiar with the situation.

The move, expected to be announced in January, would essentially consolidate MediaCom's hold on VW's $800 million global account in most of the world.

Announcement next month
Marketing executives at Volkswagen's headquarters here who were believed to be pushing the U.S. company to go with MediaCom could not confirm the decision because the German company had already closed for the holidays. A spokesman for Volkswagen of America told AdAge.com he had no update on the matter and that a decision will not be announced until after the New Year.

Jon Mandel, chairman of MediaCom U.S. and chief global officer of MediaCom Worldwide, said, "I don't know anything about it."

An MPG spokesman said the agency does not comment on its clients.

Grey Global Group
MediaCom already handles the automaker in most parts of the world outside the U.S., but MediaCom's parent, Grey Global Group, is in the midst of being acquired by WPP Group, pending approval by various government regulatory bodies. WPP counts Ford Motor Co. as its largest global client.

In the U.S., the Audi and VW brands spent a total of $430 million in measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

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Jean Halliday and Lisa Sanders contributed to this report.

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