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Omnicom-True North Deal Talk Making the Trade Rounds

DaimlerChrysler's decision to put its $1.5 billion account up for review gooses merger speculation.

Rumors in the advertising trade rags have holding companies Omnicom (OMC) - Get Omnicom Group Inc Report and True North Communications (TNO) contemplating a deal.

The talks, reports of which have surfaced in the pages of

Advertising Age



in recent weeks, would come as both companies find themselves vying for

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$1.5 billion account. DaimlerChrysler put that account in

play two weeks ago. Each agency currently has a piece of the business; the German-American automotive giant is looking to consolidate the account at one agency to reduce costs.

Should True North lose the business, which accounts for some 10% of its revenue, the company, which is one of the smaller players among the big ad holding companies, could be especially vulnerable to a takeover by a bigger fish such as Omnicom. That said, it is somewhat unclear what Omnicom would have to gain by buying True North if Omnicom manages to land the entire DaimlerChrysler account. Any deal between the two companies will probably have to wait until after Oct. 6, the deadline DaimlerChrysler has set for its decision.

Omnicom and True North representatives declined to comment.

True North shares fell 63 cents to $39.06 in trading Monday; Omnicom fell $3.06 to $76.94.