Sony Pictures looking outside of Universal McCann

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Universal McCann has confirmed that Sony Pictures Entertainment is "looking at other agencies, as it sometimes does," according to a spokeswoman at the agency, which is the media planning and buying arm of McCann-Erickson. The account is estimated to be worth $250 million.

"This is not a surprise," said the spokeswoman. "They told us they were doing this, they told us this a while ago." According to the spokeswoman, Sony periodically talks to other agencies, window-shopping for the best media planning and buying efficiencies. The spokeswoman characterized the search as an informal review. According to executives close to teh process, the review is a shootout between Universal McCann, Carat and Zenith Media.

Universal McCann, which has had the business for more than a decade, will not make a formal pitch. The agency has already provided the client with its yearly game plan for the business. "We have every confidence that Sony will remain a client," said the Universal McCann spokeswoman.

Copyright January 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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