WPP legal challenge delays Carat's £140m media buying deal

The Cabinet Office has confirmed that it has postponed the awarding of its £140m media buying account to Dentsu Aegis-owned agency Carat following a legal challenge from rival holding group WPP.

The £140m deal, which covers media purchasing for all government communications, across Cinema, TV, mobile email and emerging channels, was reported to have been awarded to Carat earlier this month, but the legal challenge by WPP, whose subsidiary M4C was the incumbent, will put the project on hold until it is resolved.

A spokesman for WPP told The Drum: "We can confirm that following the Crown Commercial Service's award of the government's media buying contract to Carat, WPP has challenged the decision. In the circumstances, it would be inappropriate to comment further."

The Cabinet Office also confirmed the postponement saying: “The government’s media buying contract has not yet been awarded. The procurement is subject to a legal challenge which are working to resolve as soon as possible. We have followed robust procedures throughout the process, including engaging fully with suppliers, customers, trade bodies and private sector organisations.”

A spokesperson for Carat told The Drum that it could not comment at this time.

The contract will see the successful agency work on media sponsorships, blogging, advertorials and partnerships throughout the public sector.

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