Chime close to deal to buy Pelham PR firm and merge it with Bell Pottinger

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The Independent Online

Chime, the listed public relations firm led by the former Tory spin doctor, Lord Bell, is set to buy Pelham, the City public relations group.

It's believed that Chime, which is in the final throes of due diligence before announcing a deal, will buy Pelham and merge it with the City operation of Bell Pottinger. James Henderson, Pelham's founder, is likely to run the combined operation although he will report to Chime management.

Pelham posted a pre-tax profit of £880,000 for the 16th months to the end of 2008, on a turnover of around £8.2m. However, it's thought that the firm had a tougher 2009.

Pelham appointed Jeremy Deeds, the former chief executive of Telegraph newspapers, as a non-executive director last year, while Baron Vivian of Glynn and of Truro is one of the founders. Chime, which paid £18m last month for Essentially, the sports marketing group, has seen its shares soar, closing at 211p on Friday – up from just 81p this time last year.