Via Group Beat Out McCann-Erickson and Publicis Worldwide

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NEW YORK ( -- The American Skiing Co. has awarded its creative advertising account to independent agency Via Group, based in Portland, Maine. An executive close to the situation estimated the value of the account to be $10 million.

He discounted other press reports that placed the value at $20 million.

The 10-year-old Via beat out two giants: Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson and Publicis Groupe's Publicis Worldwide, Seattle, for the account.

Via Group declined to comment, while the American Skiing Co. did not return calls. However, executives close to the negotiations said Via Group had picked up the account within the last few days. Via currently works specializes in financial services, health care and technology.

The company spent $6.8 million on advertising in the year ended July 2002, according to securities filings.

The American Skiing Co., headquartered in Park City, Utah, began its review process in late March and had previously used a variety of separate agencies for each of its ski resort properties. Those properties include Attitash, N.H.; The Canyons, Utah; Killington and Mount Snow, Vt.; Sugarloaf and Sunday River, Maine; and Steamboat, Colo.