Burnett, MacManus Fend Off Merger Talks
NEW YORK – Leo Burnett, Chicago, and The MacManus Group here are said to be closer to reaching an agreement that will link their media buying operations in Europe. Both Procter & Gamble shops, however, last week adamantly denied speculation that the deal will extend beyond media to include the merging of Burnett and MacManus’ D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles unit into a single, new entity.

TN Media in Line to Win Midas Media
CHICAGO – Midas International will consolidate its estimated $45 million broadcast media buying account with TN Media here, sources said. TN Media already handles network buying; about a dozen agencies have handled Midas’ spot TV buying. Fellow TN unit Foote, Cone & Belding here handles the auto chain’s creative account.

Deutsch Taking Over Mitsubishi, G2 to Close
LOS ANGELES – Deutsch will be taking over Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America’s $150 million factory account, sources said, following the decision of incumbent shop G2 Advertising to shut down by October. Deutsch recently beat G2 to handle the launch of the client’s Galant model.

Merrill Lynch Selects 2 Finalists
NEW YORK – Merrill Lynch here has selected two finalists for its $70 million ad account: D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and J. Walter Thompson, both New York, sources said. The two contenders will make final presentations this week with a decision expected next week, sources said. Lowe & Partners/SMS was the other contender for the account, which had been at Bozell Worldwide.

Account Activity
Accounting firm Ernst & Young narrowed its search for an agency to handle its estimated $15 million account to four shops, sources said. They are: DDB Needham, Saatchi & Saatchi and D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, all New York, and J. Walter Thompson, Chicago. Grey Advertising, the media incumbent, withdrew from the review DISCUS, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, has selected three New York shops as finalists in the search for its first ad agency. Sources said Angotti, Thomas, Hedge, Bozell Worldwide and Ogilvy & Mather have been invited to pitch the business. Billings are $2-6 million to start, with the potential to grow to $12-15 million. The council includes companies such as Seagram Americas and Brown-Forman Ammirati Puris Lintas and Deutsch, both in New York, are among the shops scheduled to meet with executives of Promus Hotel Corp. about a possible consolidation of the company’s $40 million ad account, sources said. The two join Promus incumbents DDB Needham in Dallas; GSD&M, Austin, Texas; and four other previously identified shops: Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos and Arnold Communications, both Boston; TBWA Chiat/Day, New York; and Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago. A decision is expected in June Partners & Simons, Boston, will face Weiss, Whitten, Stagliano, New York, in a shootout for the $4 million Dictaphone Corp. assignment.