Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, HHCL/Red Cell, M&C Saatchi and TBWA\London will contest the business early next month, with a view to having a new agency ready to start work by the beginning of next year.
Publicis, the incumbent on the business for the past five years, has not been invited to repitch, but will be asked to present new ideas if the shortlisted agencies fail to crack the brief.
Andrew Harrison, the Muller Dairy managing director, confirmed this week that the account was being put up for pitch. He added: "I wouldn't say Publicis is happy but we've tried to play it straight with them. The agency has done a lot of good work for us over time. Now we want to see if anybody has any better ideas."
Speculation about the future of the business has been rife since Harrison joined Muller from Nestle, where he was the UK marketing director, earlier this year. The media account remains with ZenithOptimedia.
Harrison commented: "We've decided to see what other creative options are out there."
The Haystack Group is running the pitch.