Chime expected to buck trend to buy HHCL

Sir Tim Bell’s Chime Communications is expected to to clinch a deal within the next few weeks to buy high profile independent advertising agency HHCL and Partners.

Sir Tim Bell’s Chime Communications is expected to to clinch a deal

within the next few weeks to buy high profile independent advertising

agency HHCL and Partners.



It emerged this week that Bell may be willing to pay up to pounds 20

million for HHCL, best known for its bizarre Tango campaign.



Bell, who has made no secret of his intention to acquire a leading

independent UK advertising brand, declined to comment. But in March this

year he told PR Week that he was actively looking to move back into

advertising with the purchase of a major UK independent advertising

agency.



An announcement is anticipated later this month, possibly to coincide

with Chime’s interim results.



Such a deal, which bucks the current trend for advertising agencies

taking over PR firms, would double the size of Chime, boosting the

group’s following in the City.



One of Bell’s major frustrations has been the inability to move Chime’s

share price. Chime is currently the second largest PR group in the UK

and posted a 21 per cent increase last year in both operating income and

profits, but its pounds 22.5 million capitalisation is small by City

standards.



A takeover of HHCL would put Bell back in familiar territory. He ran

Saatchi and Saatchi in the 1980s, before joining advertising agency Lowe

Howard-Spink. He went on to set up his own breakaway PR agency Lowe Bell

in 1989.



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