(Adds detail and Havas/WPP share prices)
LONDON (AFX) - French advertising firm Havas SA has won the global advertising account for consumer products group Reckitt Benckiser PLC, for an undisclosed sum.
In a statement Reckitt, whose brands include Vanish Oxi Action Stain remover, Nurofen and Strepsils, said the agreement with Euro RSCG, a Havas subsidiary, will cover creative services in all its countries and include the recently acquired brands from Boots Healthcare International (BHI).
Reckitt Benckiser's advertising was previously handled by JWT, an advertising network owned by WPP Group PLC, and McCann Erickson.
Reckitt said its spends more than 400 mln stg on advertising, while the Financial Times reported this morning that the winner of the Reckitt account could bill the company up to 1.5 bln usd (826 mln stg).
Reports predicted that Euro RSG would win the account, beating off competition from JWT.
'Reckitt Benckiser's track record is founded on the strength of our core brand equities,' said Rakesh Kapoor, Reckitt Benckiser executive vice president of category development, said in a statement.
'Communication has served us well, and our creative agency relationships play an important role in this success. We believe that Euro RSCG will contribute greatly to this with their consumer insights, creativity and global reach.'
Reckitt said its contract with Euro RSCG will replace the company's agreement with JWT in December, and its BHI agreement with McCann Erickson in August.
Reckitt had net revenues of 4.18 bln stg in 2005.
At 10.38 am Havas shares were virtually unchanged at 3.95 euros, while WPP shares were up 5-1/2 pence at 645 in a rising market. firstname.lastname@example.org nh/tc/nh/tc COPYRIGHT Copyright AFX News Limited 2005. All rights reserved. The copying, republication or redistribution of AFX News Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of AFX News. AFX News and AFX Financial News Logo are registered trademarks of AFX News Limited