Morrisons’ Safeway bid to spark review

Wm Morrison is expected to consider reviewing its media agency arrangements if its £3bn bid for Safeway is accepted by shareholders, giving it a combined £20m media spend.

Morrisons uses MediaedgeCIA:Manchester to handle its £17m media buying account, while Safeway uses Manning Gottlieb OMD on its £3m media buying business. One of the possible cost-saving benefits of the Safeway takeover could be to consolidate the two accounts.

Morrisons called a review of its advertising account earlier this year after it made its initial bid for Safeway, appointing BDH/TBWA (MW April 3), while Safeway uses Clemmow Hornby Inge.

Morrisons marketing services controller Michael Bates refused to comment on the possibility of an agency review.

Should shareholders accept Wm Morrison’s bid, Safeway supermarkets of more than 25,000 square feet will be rebranded as Morrisons. Of the remaining Safeway stores, those less than 15,000 square feet will retain the Safeway brand name, while those between 15,000 and 25,000 square feet will be renamed under a new Morrisons sub-brand representing their compact size.

There are also plans to close Safeway’s head office, putting more than 1,200 jobs at risk. These job losses are likely to include most of the 80-strong marketing department (MW January 16). The department is headed by Martin Pugh, who was promoted to marketing director following the departure of Karen Bray in June (MW June 12).

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