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UK Government £140m media contract moves to Carat after WPP chooses not to appeal suspension lift

The Cabinet Office has transferred the UK Government media account to Carat after GroupM failed to appeal the lifting of the suspension, allowing the new agency to begin work on forthcoming campaigns.

The £140m account will move out of incumbent 4MC into the Dentsu Aegis agency following a period of suspension since it was initially awarded in September following a legal challenge lodged by WPP.

After three weeks of hearings, it is understood that GroupM chose not to lodge an appeal against the decision taken by Mr Justice Akenhead to lift the suspension on Wednesday evening after three weeks of legal proceedings in which WPP argued against that procurement process was 'flawed'. This will now allow campaign planning for next year to begin.

The Cabinet Office is expected make a statement on the move today.

The procurement led process was initially awarded to Carat at the beginning of September and then delayed following the appeal. Despite the transfer, WPP has intimated that it will continue to challenge the decision which could result in a full trial next year.

In a statement, a spokesperson for WPP said: "We are disappointed by the decision of the High Court to allow the Cabinet Office to award the Government's media buying contract to Carat, despite the continuing legal action in connection with the Invitation To Tender (ITT) process, which resulted in this award.

"Despite having been denied access to date to the full details of the calculations and evaluation, we maintain that there have been several errors in the ITT process and we strongly believe that the award does not deliver the best deal for UK tax payers.

"As the litigation will continue, notwithstanding this decision, it would be inappropriate to comment further."

More to follow...

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