- Unilever is set to begin a review its $700 million (£450 million) US media account before the end of the year and has kicked off the process with a review of its much smaller $30 million (£19 million) Canadian media account.
The Interpublic Group, which owns Unilever's lead global agency, Western Initiative Media Worldwide, is thought to be considering a pre-emptive bid to halt the review by acquiring Unilever's lead US shop, the Botway Group - which confirmed it had been approached.
An IPG bid for Botway would be primarily designed to stop WPP Group owned agencies, Ogilvy & Mather and J Walter Thompson, winning the US business. But if the review goes ahead, an IPG bid for the agency is much more unlikely.
The international O&M and JWT joint venture, MindShare, which does not operate in the US, currently handles Unilever business around the world. A win for O&M/JWT in the US be an ideal launch pad for the MindShare brand.
The Canadian media review will see the incumbent agency, Harrison Young Personen & Newell, based in Toronto, go up against Western and a combined JWT and O&M pitch.