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(March 28, 2001) -- The quest for Philips Electronics $600 million consolidated global media buying and planning business has gone through its first stage of cuts. And one newcomer has been invited to the competition.

AdAge.com has learned that the client has dropped four agencies from its initial list of eight contenders. Zenith Media, which is jointly owned by Cordiant Communications Group and Publicis Groupe, is among the list of agencies that has been dropped. The other three have not been identified. An executive at Zenith confirmed the Zenith cut but declined to comment.

In the meantime, Philips added Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative Media to its list of contenders. An executive at Initiative Media told AdAge.com they had entered the Philips review.

So far, the list of Philips review survivors includes Bcom3's Starcom MediaVest Group, Aegis Group's Carat, WPP Group's MindShare and Omnicom Group's OMD.

The Dutch electronics company consolidated its European media business with Carat in 1996 and is now looking to create a worldwide approach to media buying and planning with one agency. Bcom3 Group's MediaVest and Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetter/Euro RSCG handle media duties in the U.S., along with Carat Freeman, Boston. -- Richard Linnett

Copyright March 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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