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Avaya Close to Signing McCann

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NEW YORK -- Avaya is in negotiations with McCann-Erickson to handle its estimated $30 creative account, with Interpublic Group of Cos. sibling Universal McCann picking up media duties, sources said.

The review had included Bates Technology Group in Atlanta; Doremus, New York; Arnold, Boston; and Mullen, Wenham, Mass. The media departments or media affiliates of those agencies also presented.

The Basking Ridge, N.J., client, a provider of software and services that integrate voice and data to businesses and government clients, had cut to McCann and one other undisclosed shop this week, but favored McCann because of its experience handling Lucent Technologies, sources said.

Avaya has not confirmed the identities of the contenders, but has said that incumbent Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco, would not keep creative, though FCB, New York, and Interpublic Group sibling Initiative Media were contenders for planning and buying.

FCB San Francisco has worked with Avaya since May 2000, creating and placing ads tagged, "Communication without boundaries." Executives at the agencies were unavailable for comment. The client declined comment. New York consultancy Combustion managed the process.