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$200 Mil. Macy's Eyes 3

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NEW YORK Macy's has selected three finalists in the review for its $200 million national media assignment, sources said.

Interpublic Group's Initiative and Havas' Media Planning Group, both here, and Publicis Groupe's Starcom in Chicago advanced, according to sources.

Aegis Group's Carat and Publicis' ZenithOptimedia, both in New York, were eliminated, per sources.

Executives at the respective agencies, as well as client officials, could not immediately be reached or declined comment.

Though Macy's spent $475 million on ads last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus, much of the client's media spending will continue to be handled in-house, and the work in play, for national media, is worth $200 million, said sources.

A final round of presentations is being scheduled for the second half of February. A decision is expected at the end of that month or early March, with a new contract taking effect by the end of the first quarter.

The review is being managed by Joanne Davis Consulting, assisted by media agency search specialist Worldwide Media, headed by Jane Twyon. Davis Consulting declined comment.

Previously, Macy's had handled almost its entire media planning and buying internally.

Last year, Macy parent Federated acquired May department stores, and is converting several of that company's brands—including May, Filene's and Marshall Fields—to Macy's department stores. As a result, the number of Macy's outlets will jump from 400 (at the time of the May acquisition) to more than 700 by September 2006, sources said.