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Samsung Meets With Holding Companies

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NEW YORK Samsung Electronics executives have been meeting with agency holding companies this month in preparation for a possible global consolidation of the client's advertising and marketing accounts, according to sources.

The consumer electronics marketer is talking to Interpublic Group, Omnicom Group and WPP Group, sources said. The incumbent, IPG's Foote Cone & Belding, won the account in December 2000, and sources said the agency planned to defend the business. A representative there would not comment.

In January, the client, with U.S. headquarters in Ridgefield Park, N.J., began talking to shops about its mobile phone business, but sources said that has turned into the beginnings of a review with an eye toward consolidating advertising, below-the-line services and possibly media. FCB sibling Initiative Media handles buying and planning.

Samsung spent $70 million on U.S. ads in 2003, per TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, and sources estimate the global business at upwards of $400 million.

Client executives could not be reached for comment.