Retail chain Dixons has drawn up a shortlist of four to pitch for its Ãº45m business (Register-MEAL).
The candidates are the New Saatchi Agency, J Walter Thompson, D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and the incumbent Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, although its chances of hanging on to the business are seen as remote.
Dixons announced it was reviewing in January after the departure of Maurice Saatchi and other senior agency executives. It is understood to have taken the opportunity to consider all its advertising activities but it has only now undertaken a formal pitch.
“It has been a pretext for a broader review although Dixons has not wasted time on navel-gazing,” says one source.
Saatchi & Saatchi president Michael Kaye, who was last week promoted from vice chairman, has handled the account for several years. The Dixons brands include Currys, PC World, mobile phones high-street outlet The Link and Dixons itself.
It has been suggested that the business could be split between agencies – the New Saatchi Agency may pick up PC World and The Link, while the larger network groups JWT and DMB&B battle it out for the bulk of the consumer work.
But a split of brands has been denied by the Dixons Group. “There is absolutely no discussion at the moment about separating out the brands,” says a spokeswoman.
A decision from the first round of pitching is expected within the next two weeks.