Seven shops to pitch for ú18m UB business

United Biscuits has invited three media independents and its four incumbents to make presentations in a fortnight – the first stage of its £18m media centralisation.

IDK Media and Carat subsidiaries TMD Carat and BBJ Media Services are understood to be joining incumbents Leo Burnett, Optimedia, MediaCom and John Ayling & Associates on a list compiled by UB’s consultant the Billett Consultancy.

One incumbent is still insisting the food giant isn’t committed to centralisation: “It is what you might describe as a soft review. It doesn’t have to go the full way to centralisation.”

The presence of TMD Carat on the pitch list has surprised industry observers as the company handles the centralised £28m Cadbury media account.

BBJ and MediaCom also have conflicts with UB’s business and at least one of the incumbents believes UB is simply testing the agencies’ TV buying skills.

None of the agencies or UB were willing to comment on the centralisation, revealed earlier this month (MW April 14).

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