Incumbent McCann Is not Defending the Account

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NEW YORK ( -- Citigroup's Salomon Smith Barney unit is launching a review for its advertising business, a spokeswoman for the company said today.

The move comes as Citigroup plans a rebranding of several businesses under the Salomon Smith Barney umbrella in the wake of federal and state investigations regarding impropriety allegations against its analysts. Citigroup separated its equity research and private client brokerage operations last October as part of an effort to make them independent of corporate and investment banking. The firm reached an agreement with regulators in December to end the federal and state probes.

Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, the creative incumbent, and Universal McCann, which handles media buying, is not defending the business.

Fallon not participating
Publicis' Fallon, Minneapolis, agency of record for Salomon sibling Citibank NA, is not participating in the review.

"We chose not to pursue this opportunity," said Anne Bologna, president of Fallon, New York. She said her team had an initial meeting, but opted out because of timing. "It is a matter of having other commitments on our plate that we wouldn't be able to give it the attention it needed."

Salomon Smith Barney spent $3 million in measured media during the first 11 months of 2002, after spending $27 million in 2001, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

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Mercedes Cardona and Kate MacArthur contributed to this report.

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