Word from within the Interpublic Group bunker is that intense discussions are in progress concerning melding the Foote Cone & Belding network with IPG's direct and promotional unit Draft Worldwide.

One emerging option is the creation of a mini-holding company encompassing both units, along lines similar to successful sibling McCann Worldgroup. But the consensus within IPG's executive washrooms is that this is less likely than a straight merger.

Talks among the involved executives reportedly began in February and a decision deadline has been fixed for mid-to-late May. According to US trade magazine Advertising Week, neither Draft ceo Howard Draft nor his FCB opposite number Steve Blamer could be reached for comment.

IPG's lips are [unsurprisingly] sealed on the issue, a spokesperson commenting primly: "At this time, we do not have any announcements to make and we do not comment on market rumors."

But there was, as ever, time for a coded commercial: "Clients are increasingly looking to us to deliver integrated communications programs with best-in-class capabilities across the marketing disciplines," said the spoke.

"We must have multiple agency models to address this need. Therefore, we regularly engage with the ceos of our operating units to think about the best ways to align our various assets.

Data sourced from AdWeek (USA); additional content by WARC staff