Six networks listed for £200m France Telecom task

LONDON - France Telecom, owner of the Orange mobile phone network, has drawn up the shortlist for its £200m global media review and intends to announce a winner by the end of July.

The network agencies lining up are: Media Planning Group (the incumbent on Orange, which accounts for the majority of the group's business), Mediaedge:cia, ZenithOptimedia, Initiative Media, Carat and OMD.

France Telecom has written to the agencies and presentations are scheduled to begin in the next two weeks. A France Telecom spokesman said: "We're hoping to have just one agency but it's possible that one may not be enough for all the group subsidiaries."

Carat and OMD both work with France Telecom's rival Vodafone. OMD handles its £40m UK account, while Carat looks after Vodafone's media in France, Germany, Ireland and Sweden.

Both agencies had been waiting for Vodafone to give the go-ahead for its global media review. However, local politics are thought to have slowed the process down and no pitch date has been set. The France Telecom spokesman declined to comment on the decision to include Carat and OMD on the pitchlist.

France Telecom announced its media review earlier this month. The move was prompted by the group's need to reduce its £46bn debt.

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