Saatchis will merge its Vision planning and buying venture

Saatchi & Saatchi is merging the new-media planning and buying for its Saatchi & Saatchi Vision arm with interactive@optimedia.

The move effectively closes Saatchis' last media planning and buying venture following the demise of its in-house traditional media department last year. It will also come as something of a snub to Zenith Media's interactive division Zenith Interactive Services.

Saatchi & Saatchi Vision, which was ranked equal tenth in Campaign's Top 300 full-service new-media agencies, was one of the assortment of new-media agencies at the new Publicis-Bcom3 group including Spring, Leonardo and Blue Marble.

A rationalisation of its new- media brands to create additional buying clout has been expected since the Publicis merger was announced.

Phil Nunn, a partner at interactive@optimedia, said: "We've spent some time talking with Saatchi & Saatchi Vision about how best to structure ourselves in order to offer the best resource. Saatchi & Saatchi Vision shares our optimism for the future of interactive media."

Saatchi & Saatchi Vision was dropped by Telewest Communications as its lead new-media agency last year following a review that saw Carlson emerge triumphant. It also lost one of its founder partners - Alan McCulloch - in February 2000 to its rival agency Zentropy Partners.