'Mega-deals' lead to listings market lift for City PR agencies

The gargantuan Facebook float and the Glencore-Xstrata merger look a huge fillip to the beleaguered international capital markets and related City PR agencies, though there remain few signs the effect will be more than temporary.

Planned merger: mining firms Glencore and Xstrata
Planned merger: mining firms Glencore and Xstrata

Last week has been hailed as the ‘return of the mega-deal’ as Facebook announced its $100bn IPO and details emerged of a planned £50bn merger of London-listed mining giants Xstrata and Glencore.

Brunswick is understood to be working on the Facebook listing, although it has not confirmed the appointment. The agency is also working on Swiss pharma firm Roche’s $5.7bn bid for America’s Illumina.

Finsbury and Aura Financial are also set to scoop bumper project fees, working for Glencore and Xstrata respectively.

Despite this flurry of excitement, observers noted that the more general prospects for capital markets transactions and related City project briefs remained far from ideal.

Nonetheless, there have been a number of agency pitches in January for companies looking to take advantage of the March/April IPO window.

This week, Tulchan Communications was announced as the PR adviser for hedge fund BlueCrest Capital’s attempt to float a new vehicle on the London stock market.

However, new listing interest continues to emanate from emerging markets.

One January process saw key City agencies in London pitching for the $3bn IPO of Mongolian state-owned coal mining firm Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi. The firm had planned to list in London, Hong Kong and its domestic market – but it is thought PR agency selection is delayed while bankers hammer out details of the listing.

However, of the many emerging markets companies to declare listings in 2011, only a small handful ever came to fruition – leading one City boss to dismiss most of these PR mandates as ‘not real briefs’.

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