Starcom, a finalist in the review for America Online's off-line media planning and buying account, pulled out of the pitch Monday citing a potential conflict with another big media client, Walt Disney
Co. Starcom executives would not comment on the record, but in a statement, the agency said it pulled out of the review for AOL's estimated $200 million media buying assignment, because it ultimately
would have brought it into direct competition with Disney. "Having mapped out the future contact environment for AOL, we feel the future of that business lives in a space that may be in direct
conflict with Disney, an extremely important client to us," said the statement. Some observers believe there may be more to the story, noting it would be unusual for an agency to make such a move at
the 11th hour. AOL, is expected to hear final presentations today from Carat and Initiative Media, with a decision on the assignment coming as soon as Friday. Some speculated that Disney may have put
its foot down at the last minute.