WPP Group Finally Gains Control of HHCL

16 January 2003

After months of on-off negotiations and several flounce-outs by featured players in the drama, WPP Group has won effective control of HHCL & Partners, the quondam advertising hotshop owned by Chime Communications.

WPP has taken a 49% stake in HHCL – with an option to buy the remaining 51% should Chime itself fall prey to a competitor – and will merge it with the UK unit of its Red Cell network. The new agency will be known as HHCL/Red Cell, mirroring a similar deal reached last year with Manhattan independent Berlin Cameron & Partners.

The deal sees £3.5 million ($5.62m; €5.32m) in cash changing hands, with a further £500,000 payable if HHCL achieves revenues of over £8m his year.

Meantime, Red Cell’s London managing director Nick Kerr has quit and the combined shop will be led as chairman by Nick Howarth, previously managing director of HHCL.

Data sourced from: Multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff