Blue Rubicon in drive to highlight private equity's role in Europe

Blue Rubicon has begun work on a pan-European PR drive to position the private equity industry as a crucial contributor to EU economies.

Blue Rubicon: in pan-Euro brief
Blue Rubicon: in pan-Euro brief

It is understood that Blue Rubicon is in the early stages of formulating a strategic comms plan to highlight the role the private equity sector plays in economies throughout Europe.

Last year, the industry was hit by the voting through of the EU's Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive, legislation that opponents say is unnecessarily restrictive.

A concerted lobbying campaign by private equity and hedge fund industry bodies achieved certain successes against potentially damaging aspects of the directive.

However, it is understood there was a feeling that the industry was not lobbying on a level playing field because of cultural bias against a sector that was seen as primarily a UK concern. Members of the European Parliament from the UK constitute less than one-tenth of the votes in Brussels, so the industry is looking to promote private equity as an important driver of economies across Europe, not just in the UK.

A central aspect of the PR drive is likely to focus on the Europe-wide assets that private equity firms hold.

The project is backed by a roundtable of major private equity firms, as well as the British Venture Capital Association and the European Venture Capital Association.

It is thought Blue Rubicon is reporting to the BVCA.

The news emerged as the industry has once again attracted negative headlines, with Labour leader Ed Miliband launching an attack on private equity at the Labour Party Conference last week.

Miliband said: 'Look at what a private equity firm (Blackstone) did to the Southern Cross care homes. Stripping assets for a quick buck and treating tens of thousands of elderly people like commodities to be bought and sold.'

Tim Hames, head of public affairs at BVCA, responded in a statement that read: '(Miliband's) distinction between "good" and "bad" businesses risks being seen as a slick slogan in search of serious substance.'

Hames and Blue Rubicon declined to comment on the agency's role.

Blue Rubicon won the brief, thought to be worth a six-figure sum, after a competitive pitch. It is thought ten UK-based agencies were initially invited to pitch for the work.

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