Estee Lauder Mulls Trio for $400 Mil.

NEW YORK Cosmetics and perfume marketer Estee Lauder has confirmed a review of its global media business.

Estimated worldwide annual ad spending is $400 million. Estee Lauder spent about $150 million in each of the last two years in U.S. media, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Some 80 percent of the company’s U.S. ad budget is spent in print.

Per sources, three shops are vying for the business: WPP Group’s Maxus (the North American incumbent); Omnicom Group’s M2M (which handles the U.K., Japan and other markets); and Havas’ MPG (a non-roster shop).

The agencies declined to comment and referred calls to Estee Lauder. A rep at the New York-based company confirmed the review, but would not, per company policy, identify contenders.

The cosmetics giant markets some two-dozen brands including Clinique, Aveda, Aramis and Origins. The company wants to consolidate the business, including media planning, buying and digital duties, at one shop.

Net sales surpassed $7 billion in fiscal 2007, up 9 percent from the previous year, the company said. About half of that was derived from North America, another $2.5 billion from Europe, the Middle East and Africa and roughly $1 billion from Asia.

This story updates and corrects an earlier item, noting that M2M is the Omnicom unit pitching Estee Lauder, not its affiliated shop OMD.