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
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
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