NEW YORK T. Rowe Price is shifting its $35 million account to WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, the client confirmed.
The move comes in the wake of WPP's August acquisition of Cordiant Communica-
tions Group, parent of the mutual fund company's former agency, Bates.
"The people who worked on our account are being absorbed by [JWT]," a T. Rowe Price representative said. "We're quite happy with them and decided to stick with them." Dany Khosrovani, the Bates executive vice president who oversaw the account, will continue to manage it at JWT.
The Baltimore-based client spent nearly $35 million in U.S. measured media last year and more than $20 million for the first six months of this year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.
JWT North America president Bob Jeffrey said, "We are delighted to welcome T. Rowe Price to our client roster. We look forward to helping to leverage the power of this premier financial services brand."
JWT client Merrill Lynch has raised no objections to the agency taking on T. Rowe Price, sources said. The New York-based agency is also inheriting other Bates' accounts, most notably $260 million in Pfizer business. Other WPP networks picking up business form Bates include Red Cell in Europe and Dentsu Young & Rubicam in Asia.
The first Bates client to defect following WPP's purchase of CCG was Cadbury-Schweppes, which last month moved its estimated $60 million non-chocolate confectionary business to Interpublic Group's McCann-Erickson in New York. Also, Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide is close to landing the estimated $80-100 million European account of Volkswagen's Seat brand, sources have said; that business has been with Bates. [Adweek Online, Sept. 3].