Sanofi-Aventis Keeps Optimedia

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis has opted to retain Publicis Groupe’s Optimedia for global media chores after a review, according to sources.

Estimated worldwide spending on the account is $450 million.

In the U.S., the company spent $210 million in measured media, excluding digital, in 2009, down 15 percent from $245 million in ’08, according to Nielsen.

Through the first seven months of this year, Sanofi-Aventis spent $90 million on domestic ads, per Nielsen.

Other contenders were not immediately known, although the company is believed to have contacted the major holding companies during the process.

The competition was managed out of Sanofi-Aventis’ Paris headquarters.

The agency—which handles all buying and planning, including digital—declined comment, referring queries to Sanofi-Aventis , which did not immediately respond.

Among the company’s many prescription brands are Plavix, used to prevent blood clots, and insulin brand Lantus. The firm’s consumer healthcare division markets Maalox, and its animal healthcare unit distributes the Frontline and Heartgard product lines. Sanofi-Aventis posted global sales of about $42 billion in 2009.

The selection comes amid struggles at Sanofi-Aventis’ U.S. operations. Earlier this month, the company said it was eliminating 1,700 jobs, or about 25 percent of the workforce in its pharmaceutical business here in a restructuring prompted by growing generic competition and other factors. The layoffs will largely affect sales personnel and administrative staff at Sanofi’s U.S. headquarters in Bridgewater, N.J.

An estimated 1,400 sales staffers will be laid off, as well as about 300 staffers in various administrative jobs, the company said.