Digitas, Home Depot Talk Direct

-Digitas and Home Depot last week were in talks expected to result in the shop being hired as the client’s lead agency for direct marketing.

Following a review of undisclosed shops, Home Depot tapped Digitas for projects and began discussing terms of a retainer relationship; the review’s winner will be named in the next few weeks.

The budget is estimated at $8-10 million for the account, on which there is no incumbent.

The assignment is not likely to result in any work being taken from Home Depot’s lead agency, The Richards Group of Dallas.

Home Depot would be the Boston shop’s first major score since executive vp David Edelman was elevated to the new post of chief marketing officer, the agency’s highest new-business post.

Digitas earlier this year added interactive assignments from Millennium Pharmaceuticals and USA Funds. The shop notched its first profitable quarter since its IPO two years ago. Net income for the first three months of 2002 was a modest $711,000, an improvement over the nearly $7 million loss Digitas suffered in the same period in 2001.