According to The Age, Australia’s most famous media buyer, Harold Mitchell, is allegedly in talks with British advertising holding company WPP discussing a merger to consolidate their media buying interests within Australia.

The joint venture would merge Mitchell & Partners with WPP’s media-buying consortium Group M to create Australia’s largest media buyer. The Age reported those familiar with the talks said Mitchell may emerge as chairman and the group was expected to retain Group M as its name.

If the merger went ahead, the group would hold responsibility for billings in excess of $2.5 billion and seize 37% of media-buying market share. Competition regulators are expected to scrutinise the merger should the deal move forward.

Last month Mitchell, executive chairman of Mitchell Communication Group, met WPP’s chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, in London. The issue is expected to be raised again on Sir Sorrell’s Sydney visit.

I am happy to confirm that I hold conversations with many people. Thats my job and thats why we are Australias largest media communication company and continue to enjoy success, said Mitchell.

WPP has siginificant interests in the Australian marketing industry through ownership of Young & Rubicam Brands, which in turn owns direct marketer Wunderman and advertising agency George Patterson Y&R.

Group M encompasses media-buying agencies Maxus, Mediaedge:cia and MediaCom.