Chime Communications' share price has shot up by more than 25 per cent in early trading after revealing that WPP and US private equity firm Providence Equity Partners are in talks to buy the company for £350m.
Sir Martin Sorrell's advertising giant WPP has formed a consortium with Providence to make a takeover offer which values sports marketing specialists Chime at 365 pence per share.
The London-based firm has over 56 sports agencies employing over 2,000 people around the world, including sport events branding experts Icon who worked on the London 2012 Olympics and CSM Strategic which has worked with the Rugby World Cup, Fifa and Commonwealth Games and is headed by Lord Coe.
It also owns a host of global advertising, healthcare communications and research firms.
In a statement posted to the stock exchange yesterday, Chime's board said "there can no be certainty that the Consortium will proceed to make an offer for Chime", yet that doesn't appear to have put off excited investors.
WPP, which already has a 20 per cent stake in Chime, appears to be investing more in sport after recently setting up new sports rights agency ESP Properties representing the Cleveland Cavaliers and City Football Group – owners of Premier League Manchester City – shortly before buying a majority stake in Two Circles Limited, a data-driven sports marketing group with clients including Liverpool and the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Shares in WPP remained relatively unmoved, trading 0.20 per cent higher on Thursday morning.