While Bell is a silent partner in Brazen, his ad agency and Brazen work together for clients including kitchen retailer Magnet and soft-drinks brand Vimto.
Bell was in a relationship for 11 years with Brazen owner Nina Wheeler. This has recently ended.
Brazen said in a statement: ‘Due to personal reasons, Brazen is in the process of buying Bell's shares in the business. Brazen continues to be run solely by owner Nina Wheeler and director Emma Beck.'
Bell and Wheeler said arrangements with joint clients would be unaffected, and that they would continue to refer each other to appropriate clients. The 30-strong consumer shop was set up in 2001 by Wheeler and Emma Beck (neé Thornley).
Both formerly worked at Manchester-based agency Mason Williams.
WPP-owned JWT acquired Bell's Manchester-based ad firm Cheetham Bell in November 2000. The latter subsequently merged with JWT's office in Manchester. Brazen would not confirm how much Bell's shares were worth, but Bell said his investment was ‘not huge'.
Some Manchester-based PR practitioners believe Bell's involvement has been a major driver of Brazen's success. But Wheeler said most clients did not even know Bell was a shareholder, adding: ‘We have pitched for all the business we have won - you win business on your own merits.'
Bell told PRWeek: ‘Brazen's success is down to Nina, not me. We will continue working together because we think Brazen is the best.'
The agency's clients include Stilton, Lambrini, Millie's Cookies and 105.4 Century FM.
The company has also just won an account with Manchester's The Triangle shopping centre.