3 Chase ConAgra Media

NEW YORK ConAgra Foods is reviewing U.S. media duties on its account with three contenders preparing to make final presentations, sources said.

ConAgra spends $150-175 million annually in major measured media, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The incumbent, WPP Group’s MediaCom, is defending against Aegis Group’s Carat and Interpublic Group’s Initiative, per sources.

The Omaha, Neb.-based client briefed the contenders last week, and final presentations are slated for next month, sources said. A decision also is expected in November.

ConAgra initially was considering four agencies, but one withdrew after the briefings, said sources. At this stage, the client is not likely to restock the field of candidates.

Agency executives either could not be reached or declined comment.

ConAgra brands include Healthy Choice, Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Butterball, Pam, Reddi Wip, Hunt’s, Jiffy, Hebrew National, Van Camp’s, Slim Jim and Orville Redenbacher’s.

The company’s roster of creative agencies includes Omnicom Group’s DDB in San Francisco (Banquet), Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett in Chicago (Chef Boyardee), MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami (Slim Jim), Interpublic Group’s Oneseven in New York (Hebrew National) and two independents, Fogarty Klein Monroe in Houston (Hunt’s, Ro-Tel, Wolf) and Nitro Group in New York (Healthy Choice).

The media review is being managed by Roth Associates, a search consultancy in New York. Roth and the client did not return calls.

Last year, major media spending on ConAgra brands exceeded $170 million, up from nearly $150 million in 2004, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. In the first eight months of 2006, the total was about $75 million, per Nielsen.

This story updates an item posted earlier today, adding Carat and Initiative as contenders.