Executives close to Western said this could lead to the media buying giant getting much more Disney business internationally.
Carat International now handles Disney's international media buying, including Spain. An executive close to Carat said Disney periodically gives projects out and that the account is not in jeopardy.
While such a small deal would usually garner little attention, the assignment takes on special interest because of the deep-seated bad blood between the two big media-buying operations.
Western Chairman-CEO Dennis Holt is said to have made it a matter of professional pride to win Disney's European business. Western handles Disney in the U.S.
Mr. Holt could not be reached, and Western President Michael Kassan declined to comment.
A few years ago, Mr. Holt struck what he thought was a solid deal with Carat, insiders say, in which Western would feed its clients to Carat for non-U.S. media representation, starting with Disney, while Carat would send its clients who needed U.S. help to Western. The informal alliance soon broke down, however.
Carat is now operating in the U.S., and would love to have the domestic Disney media business.
Disney insiders said there are no discussions along those lines.
Western, acquired in 1994 by Interpublic Group of Cos., went on to form-with sister units Lowe Group and Initiative Media Worldwide-Western International Media Europe.
"Dennis wants the English Mouse, the French Mouse, the Asian Mouse, you name it," said an executive close to Western.