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Parts Ways With Universal McCann on U.S. Work

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NEW YORK ( -- Electronics giant Motorola is moving its U.S. media-buying account from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann to Aegis Group's Carat, according to executives familiar with the matter.

'Mutually agreed'
In a statement issued through Universal McCann, a Motorola executive said the media agency

and Schaumburg, Ill., marketer have "mutually agreed to part ways." The statement added that Motorola had yet to name a new media agency in the U.S.

Calls to Carat were not returned at press time. Universal McCann, which handled the account for four years, declined to comment beyond the statement.

Motorola's U.S. spent $29 million in measured media for the first 10 months of 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, and $25 million for all of 2003.

Retains global Motorola work
Universal McCann remains Motorola's global media-buying agency, a Motorola spokeswoman said, although there are pockets around the world where other agencies are used. Universal McCann in 2003 lost media buying duties for Motorola in mainland China to WPP Group's MindShare. Publicis Groupe's Starcom also competed in the review.

WPP's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide continues as Motorola's creative agency.

The move could add another element of urgency to Interpublic's media quandary. The holding company's new CEO, Michael Roth, has said that finding a way to make the holding company's media offering more competitive would be a top priority. One possibility being considered is an overarching advisory board that would better coordinate Universal McCann and sibling Initiative.

In December, Universal McCann, reeling after being dropped from Nestle's global review, survived a review of General Motors Corp's European media buying and planning business. The automaker consolidated the $700 million business at the agency, while Initiative kept the business in the U.K.

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