Chime Communications buys sports marketing firm Icon

Chime Communications, owner of Bell Pottinger, has announced this morning that it has bought experiential sports marketing agency Icon for an initial £11m.

Lord Bell: Chairman of Chime Communications
Lord Bell: Chairman of Chime Communications

The deal is financed by a vendor placing of £7.15m and cash placing of £5.1m at 260 pence a share.

Based in South East London, Icon's customers include FIFA, UEFA, the Ryder Cup, Abu Dhabi Motor Sports and LTA Wimbledon.

The acquisition comes two and a half years after Icon’s MBO from the CSS Stellar organisation. Since then the firm has grown revenues from £11.6m (2008) to £18.6m (2010).

Lord Bell commented: ‘Sports marketing has been a great success for Chime and the acquisition of Icon will greatly enhance the range of our activities in this area. Icon is an attractive business at an attractive price.’

John Francis, Icon MD said: ‘Chime’s overseas operations will help to strengthen and augment our capabilities outside of the UK, enabling us to provide an even better global service to our existing and future international clientele.’

Chime also announced it was in negotiations with a Brazil-based sports marketing group, ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, both of which are taking place in Brazil.

Meanwhile, Chime announced that it had bought an additional stake in Bell Pottinger Middle East. It has purchased a 20 per cent stake owned by founding partner Tom Mollo for £1m and an additional deferred consideration, taking its ownership of Bell Pottinger Middle East to 90 per cent.

The UK-listed marcoms group has also bought the minority 25 per cent share of Facts International from founder Nick Lamb for an initial £1.7m.


Bell added: ‘We continue to look at other acquisitions which will increase the scope of our business and the additional cash raised in the placing will ensure that our balance sheet remains conservatively financed whilst giving us the financial flexibility we need.’

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