Chime and Freuds move to dismiss takeover rumour

Freud Communications has poured cold water on mounting media speculation that the firm is to be taken over by Chime Communications.

Freuds director Oliver Wheeler described Chime chairman Lord Bell and Freuds founder Matthew Freud as 'old mates', admitting: 'It's true as an agency we're always in discussions with someone or other, but talk of a takeover or merger is categorically denied.'

However, senior Chime sources suggested the FTSE-listed firm is keen to proceed with a deal to buy out the agency within time, but - as with its effort to acquire financial agency College Hill Associates - the move has been put on hold due to adverse capital market conditions.

Freuds' board bought the agency back from marketing group AMV in July last year at a cost of £10m (PRWeek, 6 July), the same price paid for the agency seven years earlier.

Freuds sources described the continued rumours - which were first reported in The Sunday Times and continued throughout this week - as 'annoying', while Lord Bell declined to comment on the mounting speculation.

Freuds sources accepted that the two agencies have a history of working closely together, and refused to discount the possibility of the two agencies collaborating on a project later this year.

It is understood that the two agencies refer new business leads to each other when there is a clash with their own existing clients.

- Leader, p8.

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