PURCHASE, NEW YORK--MasterCard has called a review of its lucrative US public relations business, drawing interest from a number of the country’s largest PR firms. 

The credit card giant is understood to be casting its net wide, and has invited as many as nine firms to respond to the initial brief.

The brand's PR business, pegged at around $2m, is often associated with Weber Shandwick but includes a number of other agency relationships.

Both Weber and Taylor Strategy handle a range of activities, including corporate, consumer, sponsorship and media relations, while Cohn & Wolfe also works on digital communications. 

Public affairs activity, meanwhile, is overseen by APCO. One source familiar with the situation said that MasterCard may be considering a consolidation of agencies.

"At this point, we can confirm that MasterCard is conducting a review of corporate communications agencies," said Seth Eisen, senior business leader in MasterCard's US comms team. "However, we are still early in this process and are not able to comment further."

Weber Shandwick’s MasterCard relationship, which has lasted several years, is an important one for the firm. It is agency-of-record in Asia-Pacific, and also handles business in European markets. However, this review focuses on the US alone.

It is understood that firms have been asked to provide a comprehensive list of their capabilities, before the long-list is whittled down to a smaller number of contenders.