Oz retailer may pay pitch compo

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Woolworths Australia is looking at looks at paying compensation to agencies involved in a prolonged pitch for its A$240m media account business.

Australian advertising e-service Mumbrella says the decision will fuel speculation that Woolworths will stay with incumbent Carat.

The pitch, which remains unresolved, has now been through four stages with a final shortlist consisting of incumbent Carat against rival OMD and MediaCom, with independents Match Media and Bohemia thought to be on a secondary list of smaller support agencies.

Mumbrella says it understands the retailer is considering paying the agencies involved for the hundreds of man hours involved in the challenging process, which started in February and was meant to be resolved by Easter.

Some agencies thought to have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars vying for media account, which is one of the largest in Australia, where Woolworths controls 50% of the supermarket business.

Companies being unwilling to pay agencies for their time in pitches is a sore point across the industry on both sides of the Tasman, with agencies regularly spending tens of thousands of dollars to compete for accounts they do not win.

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