Shandwick and Chime both deny merger talks

Shandwick and Lowe Bell have flatly denied that the two are in merger talks, despite a rash of speculation this week.

Shandwick and Lowe Bell have flatly denied that the two are in

merger talks, despite a rash of speculation this week.



Rumours that Shandwick International and Lowe Bell holding company Chime

Communications are locked in negotiations were rejected out of hand by

Chime’s managing director Piers Pottinger.



’We are not having talks with Shandwick,’ he said. ’We work with

Shandwick on some programmes but it doesn’t follow that we are in

talks.’ Sources at Shandwick also insisted that the rumours were

groundless.



Insiders suggest that speculation may have arisen from the purchase of a

five per cent stake in Chime by UK Active Value Fund in February. The

fund, which is run by Julian Treager and Bryan Myerson, also holds a 15

per cent stake in Shandwick and has a reputation for shaking up those

companies in which it has an investment.



A closer union between Shandwick and Lowe Bell could prove mutually

beneficial.



After key staff defected from Shandwick Consultants last month to form

the Hogarth Partnership, Lowe Bell could bolster Shandwick’s financial

PR capability, while Chime Communications would gain from Shandwick’s

international strength.



The two agencies last held talks in 1991 but Shandwick’s plan to take a

stake in Lowe Bell hit the buffers following a tumble in the former’s

share price.



Leader, p9



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