Beleaguered French marketing services group Havas is reeling after its flagship agency network Euro RSCG Worldwide, incumbent on the $300 million (€225.7m; £158.9m) Intel global advertising account, was knocked-out of the repitch contest.
Also on the canvas is fellow French holding company Publicis Groupe, leaving agency units of Interpublic Group, Omnicom Group and WPP Group still slugging it out.
The account loss could hardly have come at a worse time for Havas. Under siege by French corporate raider Vincent Bolloré, Havas is also struggling to retain Volkswagen America's $500m media business, currently under review.
But Euro RSCG is not yet ready to concede defeat. An agency spokesman says the shop has not been informed it is out of the running, and that it continues to service the Intel business. Nor is the client willing to confirm the KO. Says Intel: "The review continues and beyond that we won't comment on specifics."
The winner of the contest is expected to be declared some time in Q1 2005.
Data sourced from AdWeek (USA); additional content by WARC staff