The battle between rival bidders Clear Channel Communications and
Decaux for outdoor advertiser The More Group filtered down to the public
affairs world last week.
An item appeared in the Financial Times claiming that Rory Chisholm, a
director of GJW, one of the agencies lobbying for Decaux against a
referral of its bid to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, had
performed something of a u-turn.
It transpires that prior to being hired by Decaux Chisholm had written
to rival bidder Clear Channel, now represented by Shandwick, claiming
that there were strong grounds for Decaux’s bid to be referred to the
Monopolies and Mergers Commission.
Chisholm protests his innocence: ’Everyone knows consultancies often
write to a number of companies to market their services. Of course a
referral was always a possibility but I think Shandwick must be pretty
desperate to make this into an issue.’
Shandwick denies leaking Chisholm’s letter to the FT. Jon McLeod, the
agency’s public affairs director, told me: ’Of course we didn’t leak the
letter. We have made Clear Channel’s case in lots of other ways.’
Chisholm was correct in his initial doubts over Decaux’s bid. McLeod and
others at Shandwick were cracking open the champagne last week, when
they discovered Decaux’s bid had been referred to the MMC.
Chin up Rory.