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MindShare has entered the fray for Bristol-Myers Squibb Cos.' estimated $275 million media planning and buying business.

The WPP Group Co. joined the battle on the heels of their loss last month of the $400 million Warner Lambert business to Carat, which took the consolidated media buying and planning account of the merged Pfizer Warner Lambert that is said to be worth about $700 million. Top MindShare executives dropped out of scheduled appearances at the American Association of Advertising Agency's media conference in New Orleans earlier this month in order to play catch-up in the review.

Bcom3's Starcom MediaVest Group, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative Media and Zenith Media, jointly owned by Cordiant and Publicis Groupe, had been competing for the business since January. Bcom3's D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, FCB Worldwide and Kaplan Thaler Group, all in New York, are Bristol-Myers' roster creative agencies.

Bristol-Myers brands include Enfamil and Excedrin. Media buying and planning for Bristol Myers subsidiary Clairol is not included in the review. A decision is expected by March 19, according to an executive familiar with the matter.

Copyright March 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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