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Providence secures full control of Chime

Advertising and public relations giant WPP has today (Monday) agreed to sell its minority shareholding in sports, entertainment and communications group Chime to the company’s majority shareholder, US private equity investment firm Providence Equity.

WPP said the deal is worth £54.4m (€60.7m/$68.9m), plus potential additional amounts based on the future value of Chime.

The disposal is in line with WPP’s new strategy as set out in December, a key element of which is to focus on its main areas of business and simplify its operations through the disposal of non-core assets. This is being led by chief executive Mark Read, who took over from industry powerhouse Martin Sorrell last year.

Chime was sold to Providence Equity and WPP in July 2015. The Financial Times newspaper said that today’s agreement is comparatively worth significantly less than the £374m Providence and WPP paid for Chime. Under that agreement, WPP took 25 per cent of Chime, with Providence securing the remaining stake.

The Reuters news agency added that WPP has also shortlisted a series of US buyout funds to submit binding bids for a majority stake in its data analytics unit Kantar, in a deal that could be worth £3.5bn.