Tempus-owned CIA Medianetwork has lost the &£100m Unilever account in Italy to MindShare, in the latest round of the battle for the household goods giant’s &£3bn worldwide media buying account.
WPP’s MindShare is competing against Initiative, CIA, Botway and Universal McCann for control of the account in different markets around the globe.
MindShare is eroding Initiative’s leading position in Europe after winning Unilever’s &£220m German business in August.
News of MindShare’s win in Italy follows the defection earlier this year of Giulio Malegori, former director of CIA company Blumedia, to the Italian office of WPP MindShare.
There is growing speculation that Marco Benatti, founder and partner of CIA Italy who quit earlier this year, will join WPP.
The move is a blow for CIA Medianetwork Italy, one of the company’s most profitable subsidiaries. However, it could clear the way for CIA to pick up a bigger slice of the &£300m global Henkel business.
Chris Ingram, chairman of CIA Medianetwork holding company Tempus, says: “It is likely that our relationship with Unilever in Italy will end next year. This will not have an adverse effect on the group’s profitability.”
The news emerged as Tempus delivered its interim results. Pre-tax profits before goodwill were up 16 per cent to &£7.4m, while turnover was up 18 per cent to &£706m.
Initiative handles Unilever’s &£170m account in the UK.