Outback spent $87 million in measured media in 2006, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
Other finalists were WPP Group's MindShare and independent Horizon Media.
Incumbents didn't defend
The incumbents on the account, Havas's MPG, New York, and Doner, Southfield, Mich., both declined to defend the account, said an executive familiar with the review.
The process was handled by Select Resources International, Santa Monica, Calif., which is also reviewing the public-relations account for the casual-dining restaurant. Creative duties on the account, which are handled by Publicis Groupe's Kaplan Thaler, were unaffected.
OSI Restaurant Partners, the parent company of Outback and Carrabba's, has more than 1,400 locations in the U.S. and 20 other nations. More than 1,200 are company-owned. Outback has 950 Australian-themed restaurants and Carrabba's has 230 locations.
Spokespeople for Outback could not be reached at press time.