How Chime Communications' break-up is unfolding

As Lord Bell's MBO of Bell Pottinger's PR companies continues, PRWeek looks at the key players.

Lord Bell: chairman of Chime Communications
Lord Bell: chairman of Chime Communications

Leading the MBO

Lord Bell Chairman, Chime Communications

Bell's plan to carry out an MBO of Chime businesses that are constituents of Bell Pottinger is expected to be complete by the end of May, with a circular being sent to shareholders shortly thereafter. In an interim management statement released last week, Chime said that the main terms had been agreed.

Also read: Chime Communications prepares for PR MBO and Danny Rogers: An intriguing future awaits Bell Pottinger

Thought to be joining Lord Bell

Piers Pottinger

Deputy chairman, Chime

Became MD of Good Relations City in 1985 and subsequently launched Chime with Bell


James Henderson

MD, Pelham Bell Pottinger

Expected to take a key role in the new business; owns a major chunk of Pelham


David Wilson

Chairman, Bell Pottinger Public Relations

A key figure in The Independent's sting operation; represents Rebekah Brooks


David Beck 

Group MD, Bell Pottinger Group

Has been with Bell Pottinger for three years, before which he was director of comms at Marconi


Paul Bell

Deputy chairman, Bell Pottinger Group

Moving to a contracted role rather than full-time employment


Confirmed as included in the MBO

  • Bell Pottinger Middle East
  • Bell Pottinger Public Affairs
  • Bell Pottinger Public Relations
  • Bell Pottinger Sans Frontieres
  • Pelham Bell Pottinger


Powerful shareholder

Sir Martin Sorrell CEO, WPP

Sorrell, whose company WPP owns 20 per cent of Chime, has misgivings about the planned transaction. Last month, he said that Bell's plan represented 'a bad deal for Chime'. WPP also increased its shareholding in Chime last month, buying itself another person on the board.



Already gone

Peter Bingle Chairman, Bell Pottinger Public Affairs

Bingle left Bell Pottinger Public Affairs last Friday and is understood to be launching his own consultancy, named Peter Bingle Consulting. It is understood that there have been further headcount reductions in public affairs, now led by former Lib Dem strategist Stephen Lotinga. Lord Bell said that Bell Pottinger Public Affairs would remain a 'very important part' of the group.


Brands - position still to be revealed

  • Bell Pottinger MMK
  • Bell Pottinger North
  • Ptarmigan Bell Pottinger


Holding the fort at Chime

Chris Satterthwaite

CEO, Chime Communications

Satterthwaite plans to reinvest the proceeds of the MBO into sectors that are expected to show good growth, such as sports marketing. The group is pursuing a 'transition strategy' to becoming a 'comms and sports marketing business'. Satterthwaite is thought to be strongly supportive of the MBO deal.


Thought to be staying at Chime

Kevin Murray

Chairman, Bell Pottinger Group

Expected to have a key role in the post-Bell Pottinger Chime


Teresa-Anne Dunleavy

CEO, Good Relations

Has headed Bell Pottinger's full service agency since 2007


Louie St Claire

MD, Harvard Public Relations

Has headed Bell Pottinger's tech brand since January 2011


Brands expected to stay with Chime

  • Fast Track
  • Good Relations
  • Harvard Public Relations
  • Insight
  • Stuart Higgins Communications
  • Teamspirit


In numbers

25% Stake that Chime will retain in the businesses taken by Bell

50% Growth achieved by Chime's sports marketing division

10% Group profit represented by the firms targeted by the MBO

Source: Chime interim management statement, 9 May

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