Interpublic Group has disinterred abandoned earlier plans to integrate its Bozell unit into sibling Lowe & Partners Worldwide. This time around, however, discussions have reached the stage where soundings are being conducted among clients of both shops.

One possible sticking point is Bozell’s Bank of America which conflicts head-on with Lowe’s international client HSBC, the London-headquartered international banking company which has substantial stateside interests.

The IPG partyline on the rumored merger was reiterated by a spokesman: “We constantly look for ways to provide better service to our clients. If combining operations or encouraging our companies to collaborate in new ways offers such benefits, we will always consider it.”

According to insiders, the resuscitation of merger discussions is not directly related to Interpublic’s financial problems which recently prompted credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s to threaten downgrading of its stock to junk status [WAMN: 23-Jan-03].

Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff