Global Marketer in Talks With Three Holding Companies

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NEW YORK ( -- Global consumer products marketer Nestle is talking to three advertising agency holding companies about a global review of its media planning and buying businesses, a Nestle spokesman said.

Nestle, the maker of candy, pet food, breakfast cereal and assorted other products, is in discussions with Interpublic Group of Cos., WPP Group and Publicis Groupe.

'Global challenge'
"We are looking for solutions," spokesman Marcel Rubin said from the company's headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland. "This is a global challenge in order to assess the future of media and to provide solutions unique to Nestle and each of Nestle's operating companies."

Nestle is the world's ninth-largest advertiser and in 2002 spent $1.5 billion globally, according to Ad Age's 2003 Global Marketing Report. U.S. measured media spending was $494 million, Europe was $819 million, Asia was $138 million and Latin America was $67 million.

Mr. Rubin would not comment on whether Nestle wants to consolidate its accounts at fewer agencies. He said there is no time frame for the review, and that creative responsibilities are not being assessed.

Major account for IPG
In the U.S., Interpublic's Universal McCann handles all media buying for Nestle as well as some media planning. Nestle is Interpublic's second-largest client, accounting for almost 3%, or roughly $176 million, of its 2003 worldwide revenue, according to an Advertising Age analysis of the holding company's financial filings.

A number of other agencies, including Publicis' Optimedia, a unit of Zenith Optimedia Group, handle media planning in the U.S. Multiple agencies handle media buying and planning outside the U.S.

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Claire Atkinson contributed to this report.

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