01 August 1997

Sir Tim Bell, chair of Chime Communications and ex-Saatchi adman, whose hairstyle inspired Margaret Thatcher to similar feats of architectural coiffure, is poised to acquire independent ad agency HHCL & Partners for an estimated £20m. High profile, high camp HHCL would be an ideal snatch for Bell, effectively doubling the size of Chime and extending its activities outward from PR. While Sir Tim wafted the subtle scent of folding money in their direction, HHCL and its staff were celebrating the company's tenth birthday with a champagne knees-up - not in Margate as would be spiritually appropriate, but in Monte Carlo.