Tim Bell has inked a $32M deal to take Bell Pottinger off the hands of Chime Communications, a move that sets up a confrontation with WPP’s Martin Sorrell.
WPP holds a 20 percent stake in Chime. Sorrell opposes the sale of BP because he believes the transaction is skewed in favor of Bell, who is chairman of Chime.
Chime will get $24M cash infusion and a 25 percent ownership in the renamed BPP Communications.
In the event the transaction gains the support of shareholders at the June 18 meeting, Piers Pottinger will become deputy chairman of BPP. He does not yet have an investment stake in BPP, but plans to become a “significant” owner.
Chime’s divested units will be Bell Pottinger Public Relations, Pelham Bell Pottinger (60%), Bell Pottinger Public Affairs, Bell Pottinger Sans Frontières and Bell Pottinger Middle East.
Chime CEO Christopher Satterthwaite believes BP disposal will enable his firm to “exit from non-core business and have a more balanced portfolio of communications and sports marketing” and provide proceeds for investments in the digital and healthcare spaces.