WPP increases pressure on Lord Bell buy-out plans as it ups Chime stake to 19 per cent

WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell isn’t a fan of Lord Bell (pictured) and Piers Pottinger’s plan to buy out the Bell Pottinger PR business from Chime Communications, the PR-based marcoms business Bell chairs.

Sorrell has described the plan thus: “It isn’t logical and if you start to dismember the management of it, where does that end?”

So the announcement today that WPP has raised its stake in Chime to 15.54m shares or 19.14 per cent, up from just below 18 per cent, is significant. At the very least it’s a shot across Bell and Pottinger’s bows aimed at persuading them to change their minds, potentially it could be an attempt to scupper the deal or even take control.

Chime has been changing quite dramatically recently with its investments in advertising, with hard-charging VCCP, and a gaggle of sports marketing companies making the company more diverse. But one reason for the changed mix is pressure on Bell Pottinger. PR’s share of Chime operating income has fallen from 49 per cent to 42 per cent and may fall further as the company absorbs the losses from losing a number of US government PR accounts.

You May Also Like

About Staff