UPC searches for agency to handle £25m account

- The cable operator, United Pan-Europe Communications (UPC), is looking for an agency to boost its profile across Europe with an estimated spend of £25 million.

- The cable operator, United Pan-Europe Communications (UPC), is looking for an agency to boost its profile across Europe with an estimated spend of £25 million.

The search is being conducted through the AAR, under the stewardship of UPC vice-president marketing, Gavin Bradley, who is based in Amsterdam.

A UPC spokeswoman played down the move, commenting: "If we are approaching the AAR it is part and parcel of us being a multinational corporation sensitive to the needs of the industry. It's us being ahead of the game."

However, a number of London agencies have already been contacted by representatives of the company and are gearing up to present for the business -- although sources indicate that a shortlist has yet to be finalised.

To date, the company has only advertised around its flotation, which raised $1.3 billion in February. Creative for the campaign, which ran in the business press, was developed by the identity consultancy, Lloyd Northover Citigate. Media buying was handled by Citigate Dewe Rogerson.

The company offers video, internet and telecommunications to homes and businesses over a cable network. Video supply is the largest part of the business, and the company is attempting to push its internet and phone access. It has 3.4 million subscribers.

The money raised from the recent flotation is being used to fund an array of acquisitions across Europe. The company is taking advantage of the deregulation of the main European telecommunications markets.

Its broadband internet service provider subsidiary, Chello, has about 36,000 subscribers in France, Belgium, Austria, Norway and the Netherlands. It markets its service as high-speed internet access with a flat fee.

UPC is 60 per cent owned by Denver-based United International Holdings, which took control two years ago when it bought out its partner Philips Electronics. Microsoft also has an 8.1 per cent stake in UPC.



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