BSkyB is understood to have started a review of its £75m ad account and is in talks with WCRS as well as the WPP Group, which is battling to keep hold of the business.
It is understood that a review is in the early stages, but that it has been extended to include WCRS and its parent company Engine after it failed to win a place on the £20m BBC account last week.
WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell has been attempting to stave off a review of the account out of United by offering a “Team Sky” solution led by sister agency Grey London.
Clemmow Hornby Inge has also been linked with Sky, but preliminary talks are understood to have stumbled due to the agency’s relationship with Carphone Warehouse.
United, formerly known as HHCL/Red Cell, is not thought to be working on any Sky business at present.
A Sky Sports campaign highlighting its Ashes cricket coverage is being produced by agency Brothers & Sisters, which is working for Sky on a project basis, according to a company spokesman. He declined to comment further.
Cracks in the relationship with United began to show following the arrival of Jim Kelly and Robert Campbell as joint managing partners. Campbell is understood to have been banned from working on the account by the broadcaster, while planning director Richard Huntington was taken off the business following a disagreement with Sky’s design agency Venture 3.
Sky accounts for about 70% of the agency’s billings and its expected departure would throw United’s future as a standalone agency in doubt (MW last week).
WCRS and Sky declined to comment on the review, and Grey was unavailable as Marketing Week went to press.