Boots puts U.K. biz into review

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[London] WPP Group's $125 million global relationship with U.K. retail and pharmaceutical giant Boots, brokered by WPP Group Chief Executive Martin Sorrell, is under threat. Boots' U.K. retail business has shortlisted Omnicom Group's Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, Publicis Groupe's Publicis Worldwide and independent Mother, all London, to pitch against the incumbent, WPP's J Walter Thompson, for its $70 million U.K. creative account. Boots is also reviewing U.K. media buying, now at WPP's MindShare. The review is part of major changes at Boots, which in June reported 2003 pretax profit down 16.9% to $787 million. In January, the company recruited Anne Francke from Mars' Masterfoods as director of strategic marketing and development.