WPP and US buyout firm Providence agree £374m Chime takeover

Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP
Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP
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Sir Martin Sorrell’s advertising firm WPP and Providence Equity Partners have agreed a £374m takeover of public relations firm Chime Communications.

The deal - in which Chime has been priced at 365p per share - will see the London-based marketing group repositioned as a global sports marketing business.

Chime owns a number of PR agencies, as well as specialist sports marketing business called CSM, which is chaired by former Olympian Lord Coe.

The deal equals a 33 per cent premium to Chime’s share price on July 29, the day before talks over the sale were announced.

Chime, founded by PR executive Lord Bell - who advised Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher - agreed to the sale as it viewed its current scale “as a constraining factor” as it challenges larger established international sports marketing firms.

WPP is one of the world’s biggest advertising agencies with 3000 offices in 111 countries generating sales of £11.5bn last year.

Providence Equity Partners has invested in over 140 firms since it was founded in 1989 and has $40bn (£26bn) worth of assets under management.

Chime chairman Lord Davies of Abersoch said: “To fulfil Chime’s considerable growth potential, significant new capital is required.

“Providence and WPP offer Chime both the capital and the industry expertise to fast-track our ambitions to build a full scale, global sports marketing and communications business.”

Chime’s existing management team is to remain with the firm. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the year.