HHCL & Partners, already in merger negotiations with Sir Tim Bell’s Chime Communications, is also in talks with a Californian marketing company which is looking for a UK partner.
CKS Group is understood to have contacted a number of London advertising agencies with the aim of future collaboration on work for international clients.
The company is a “hot” technology stock quoted on the US Nasdaq exchange. It is based in Silicon Valley near San Francisco and was founded in 1987 by three ex-Apple employees. It specialises in new media, advertising, packaging and corporate identity and has a client list which includes United Airlines, General Motors, Clinique and Visa.
The group has a network of offices around the world including Portland, New York, Hamburg, Munich and Vienna, but no foothold in the UK.
Rupert Howell, managing partner at HHCL & Partners, says: “We have had very early exploratory talks. They are talking with several people about whether their way of doing things is exportable to the UK.”
He denies speculation that talks with CKS mean a merger with Chime Communications is less likely. “I’m talking to Tim and we’ve talked very seriously. It is an option I am considering. Anything with CKS is a lot further away.”
Gina Bianchini, manager of business development and investor relations at CKS, says: “From time to time we’ll evaluate a number of different markets in Europe. We are continually focused on geographic expansion.”