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Lego Solicits Agencies for $30 Mil. Media Account

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LOS ANGELES Struggling Danish toy maker The Lego Company has contacted three agencies regarding its $30 million U.S. media account, the client confirmed.

According to a statement from Lego, the move is part of a global process to "benchmark the current work, review media industry standards and averages to better understand where efficiencies can and should be realized."

Lego in the statement said it was "pleased" with its current agency, Publicis Groupe's Starcom in Chicago. The shop is defending the business, according to a Lego representative, who would not disclose other contenders.

Sources said the three agencies contacted about the account were the New York offices of Interpublic Group's Universal McCann, WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia and Aegis Group's Carat.

At least one of those agencies, Universal McCann, has declined to participate, according to sources. It is also unclear whether Mediaedge, which handles Mattel's $275 million account in the U.S. but some Lego business in Europe, is planning to participate. Agency executives were unavailable for comment.

Lego said the process is now closed to further entrants.

Lego is also reviewing its estimated $35 million European media account, handled by Publicis' Starcom Motive, which has dropped out of that competition, sources said.

In 2003, the company, best known for its plastic building blocks and playsets, lost almost $200 million, the worst performance in its seven-decade history. Those losses led to the global initiative, the Lego rep said. The company's U.S. operations are based in Enfield, Conn.