NTL in discussions with Rapier ahead of Telewest merger

NTL is in talks with Telewest agency Rapier about working on its £1m integrated advertising account ahead of the expected merger of the cable rivals.

NTL is in talks with Telewest agency Rapier about working on its &£1m integrated advertising account ahead of the expected merger of the cable rivals.

NTL already works with E&P, TND and Turquoise, but it is thought to want more strategic input from its agencies. WWAV Rapp Collins Media handles media planning and buying.

An NTL spokesman says: “We are in discussion with Rapier to support our sales and marketing division. If we move forward, it will provide strategic advice and creative solutions.”

Rapier handles press, outdoor and direct marketing for Telewest’s consumer division. The two companies are believed to be just weeks away from completing a &£6.8bn deal to help them step up the fight against BSkyB in the UK pay-TV market.

A cash-and-shares offer is expected to be made by NTL later this month, valuing Telewest at about &£3.3bn. The combined group is likely to be headed by NTL chief executive Simon Duffy, with his opposite number at Telewest, Barry Elson, seen as a possible non-executive chairman.

Telewest is expected to put its content division Flextech up for sale this week, with a price tag of at least &£800m. The disposal of the business, which owns the channels Living TV and Bravo, would be seen as a key step towards the merger.

Last month, Telewest Broadband charged the AAR with reviewing the direct marketing account for its business division, which is held by Draft London.

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