Sunday 30 June 2019 12:48 pm

WPP to sell stake in sports marketing firm Chime Communications

Advertising group WPP is set to sell its stake in sports marketing agency Chime Communications in its latest move to slim down the business.

WPP will sell its 25 per cent stake in Chime to US investment firm Providence Equity Partners, which holds the remaining 75 per cent, for £50m.

Read more: WPP confirms sale of post-production house The Farm Group to US rival

The deal, first reported by the Sunday Times, will see Providence take full control of the firm.

It is the latest effort by WPP to sell off non-core parts of its business in a bid to streamline its complex corporate structure.

Chief executive Mark Read, who took over from Sir Martin Sorrell last year, has laid out a restructuring plan that has already seen a number of sales and internal mergers.

Earlier this month WPP sold its stake in TV and film post-production firm The Farm Group to LA-based rival Picture Shop, and the ad giant is close to finalising a deal for its analytics division Kantar.

The sale of Chime will help to cut the holding group’s debt, which stood at roughly £4bn at the end of last year.

Chime was founded in 1989 by Lord Bell, who was Margaret Thatcher’s spin doctor and co-founder of controversial PR firm Bell Pottinger. 

Read more: Sorrell poaches two media execs with links to WPP for new venture S4 Capital

The communications firm, which was bought out by WPP and Providence in 2015 for £374m, is best known for its sports marketing subsidiary CSM, which boasts Lord Sebastian Coe as its executive chairman.

Chime declined to comment. WPP and Providence have been contacted for comment.

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