Novartis, the pharmaceutical giant, is gearing up to launch a review of its estimated $600m global media business.
WPP's MEC is the incumbent on the global business, including in the UK.
In 2008 Novartis consolidated its US media planning and buying into MEC after moving its business from sibling agency Mindshare in a global realignment.
The company, which has a consumer health business that markets over the counter medicines such as Tixylix and Savlon, spent £9m in the UK in the past 12 months, according to Nielsen.
Novartis, which is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, has three other businesses called Pharmaceuticals, Vaccines and Diagnostics, and Sandoz Generics, a global supplier of generic medicines that are produced after a popular medicine's patent has expired.
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