WPP’s Sorrell funds Sir Tim Bell’s pounds 24m acquisition of HHCL

Chime Communications, Sir Tim Bell’s publicly listed PR group, is expected to complete its merger with HHCL & Partners this morning in a deal bankrolled by Martin Sorrell’s WPP. Sources have valued HHCL at pounds 24 million.

Chime Communications, Sir Tim Bell’s publicly listed PR group, is

expected to complete its merger with HHCL & Partners this morning in a

deal bankrolled by Martin Sorrell’s WPP. Sources have valued HHCL at

pounds 24 million.



WPP will buy a 29.9 per cent interest in Chime to finance the HHCL

purchase.



It will have non-executive representation on Chime’s board. HHCL will

take a major stake in Chime, in what is, in effect, a reverse

takeover.



Rupert Howell, HHCL’s managing partner, will become joint chief

executive of Chime, with its chief executive, Piers Pottinger. Howell is

eventually expected to succeed Bell as chairman.



Howell and the four other founding partners, Steve Henry, Axel

Chaldecott, Adam Lury and Robin Price, have been locked into the deal

for two years and will still run the agency. The takeover also includes

the HHCL Brasserie, Michaelides & Bednash and In Real Life.



The deal gives HHCL access to a global network, as well as public

status.



It will now be able to pool international clients through the WPP

network, which includes J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather, and its

media arm, MindShare.



Perspective, p16



Howell refused to give details of the deal, but said: ’I can confirm we

are in latter of stages of negotiations but nothing is signed yet.’



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