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Singtel has very quietly called for a media pitch, which Marketing understands is led by R3.

Despite the telco’s attempts to keep the pitch hush hush, sources have told Marketing that media agencies participating in the closed door pitch have been asked to provide an estimate of how much business they can provide Singtel’s Amobee arm.

While it is understandable why Singtel would want to push more business onto its digital marketing arm that it acquired almost six years ago for SG$400 million, several industry players have called the move "unethical" and said this creates distrust amongst media agencies and clients.

When asked about the matter, a Singtel spokesperson said: “We don’t comment on commercial tenders particularly so for tenders that are midway through the procurement cycle. As with all such tenders, we invite suppliers  to respond to the defined needs of our many departments and subsidiaries. We encourage all agencies to clarify directly with us any concerns they may have over the terms of the tender.”

Singtel currently works with Havas Media for its media buying and planning. Havas did not respond to Marketing's queries.

Amobee has been trying actively to grow its offerings, acquiring Turn, a provider of a global technology platform for marketers and agencies last year, at an enterprise value of US$310 million. Turn further operates a demand-side platform (DSP) which provides programmatic buying capabilities that automate the process of buying digital ads in real time across video, mobile and display.

In Singapore, it brought on board Patricia Goh, the former managing director of Starcom Singapore as VP of Southeast Asia for Amobee, and named Robert Woolfrey as senior vice-president to drive the company’s continued international growth.