Interpublic and Initiative under siege from WPP’s Group M as Bayer reviews $546m US media

It’s circle the wagons time at Interpublic as, fresh from losing $1bn SC Johnson to Ogilvy & Mather and Energy BBDO, it faces the loss of Initiative’s $546m Bayer media account to WPP’s Group M. Group M handles Bayer’s media outside the US.

Initiative and DraftFCB were the two agencies to lose out on SC Johnson. Bayer is reported to be in the early stages of reviewing its media account and Group M has to be in the box seat if a switch is made. Group M handles big negotiations for WPP media agencies, which include MediacCom, Mindshare and MEC, but is increasingly taking accounts on its own.

Interpublic, like most of its marcoms peers, is underpowered in media in comparison to WPP which also owns Maxus and outdoor specialist Kinetic. Interpublic has just Initiative and Universal McCann in the big (ish) league although global media boss Matt Seiler recently announced that it was planning to start another network, initially in North America.

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