Sony Ericsson spokespeople, however, said the company has not yet selected an ad agency.
Ad spending figures
According to TNS Media Intelligence, the marketer spent $4.2 million on U.S. media in 2005, but executives' global estimates vary widely. One executive familiar with the account placed it at around $63 million.
Cellphone manufacturers such as Sony Ericsson have primarily relied upon their wireless carriers to support their products.
The incumbent was Bartle Bogle Hegarty. The Publicis Groupe-backed agency handled a global creative assignment managed out of London, but Sony Ericsson also had regional shops doing work too. The split between the agency and the marketer occured at the end of July, a Bartle Bogle spokeswoman said.
Other contenders were the London offices of Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Worldgroup and Publicis Groupe's Publicis Worldwide. Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide dropped out a few weeks ago, said executives familiar with the review.
This has been a quite the summer for Saatchi. The agency recently landed the $430 million JC Penney account, and last month Wal-Mart Stores named Saatchi & Saatchi X agency of record for shopper, in-store and employee communications
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Alice Cuneo and Matt Creamer contributed to this report.