Former Blair adviser sells his PR agency

TIM Allan, the former spin doctor for BSkyB who started his professional career as a press adviser to Tony Blair, has agreed to sell a majority stake in his public relations firm Portland to the global marketing group Omnicom.

The deal values Portland at around £20m (depending on the group’s performance over the next three years) and Allan’s stake at several million pounds.

It will involve Portland working closely with g+Europe, a European-focused consultancy specialising in reputation management.

Portland already has offices in London, New York and Nairobi, where it does work with Kofi Annan, the UN-Arab league envoy.

Portland was founded in 2001 by Allan who took the BSkyB account with him when he left the firm. Its clients now include Google, Apple, Tesco, Virgin Media and McDonald’s.

Its advisory board comprises Allan’s former boss from BSkyB Tony Ball, former Conservative Minister and television pundit Michael Portillo and Sir Chris Powell, who is a former chief executive office of the advertising agency BMP.

Allan’s time at BSkyB coincided with a bitter battle between it and its rival ITV, which was then in the process of launching a rival digital television platform, ITV Digital. At the time one of Allan’s main press rivals was David Cameron, then press office for Carlton, one of ITV Digital’s principal shareholders..

The rivalry was often quite bitter but that hasn’t prevented Allan from hiring a number of people with Conservative party links. Portland was advised on the deal by SI Partners and Kemp Little.