Chase Eyes 4; Merrill Mulls 5

Amid speculation last week that Chase Manhattan would acquire Merrill Lynch, both companies moved forward with their agency reviews.
Chase narrowed its search to four New York finalists for its estimated $50 million ad account: Bozell Worldwide; Foote, Cone & Belding; Grey Advertising; and McCann-Erickson, sources said.
Final creative presentations will be held during the week of April 20. Both client and agencies declined comment.
Shops eliminated were Lowe & Partners/SMS and Saatchi & Saatchi, both New York, sources said. D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles here pulled out prior to the cut, sources said.
The five shops, all in New York, pitching the $70 million Merrill Lynch account are: Lowe, DMB&B and J. Walter Thompson, as well as Grey and FCB, the two remaining shops pitching both Chase and Merrill. Merrill has scheduled a round of meetings for the week of March 30, sources said.
Reports last week that Chase had put in a bid for Merrill drove up the share price for both companies.