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Wal-Mart Searches for New Ad Agency

Wal-Mart said on Thursday it would reopen bidding for its $580 million advertising account just days after the departure of an executive who led the retailer's change of ad agencies.

Wal-Mart said this week Julie Roehm, head of marketing communications, had left the company, weeks after the world's largest retailer awarded its ad account to Interpublic Group's DraftFCB and Carat, owned by Britain's Aegis Group (Play-By-Play:Wal-Mart In "Amateur Hour" With Ad Changes?).

Wal-Mart said Carat will be eligible to bid in the new process, but DraftFCB will not be allowed to bid.

"We notified DraftFCB that we had decided to reopen the bid process for our advertising accounts and it will not be eligible to participate. This is the result of new information we obtained over the past few weeks," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Mona Williams said.

Williams said the new review should move quickly and that Wal-Mart expects a new agency to be onboard by the end of January. While DraftFCB was not eligible to bid, Williams said Wal-Mart was open to including another Interpublic agency.

"We're disappointed to hear Wal-Mart's decision," said a spokesman for Interpublic, referring to DraftFCB's drop from consideration.

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