TXU deal uses double-sided PR

DALLAS: The biggest leveraged buyout in history was notable not only for its finances, but also for its unusual feature of having multiple PR firms advising both sides of the deal simultaneously.

DALLAS: The biggest leveraged buyout in history was notable not only for its finances, but also for its unusual feature of having multiple PR firms advising both sides of the deal simultaneously.

Texas-based energy company TXU agreed to a $45 billion buyout by the private equity firms Kolberg Kravis & Roberts (KKR) and Texas Pacific, along with Goldman Sachs, last week.

TXU worked with Public Strategies, its AOR, as well as Kekst & Co., on the deal. But Kekst also worked with KKR, its longtime client, and Public Strategies advised the coalition of investors as a whole.

TXU communications director Lisa Singleton said that while the company has worked closely with Public Strategies for some time, it began working with Kekst several months ago during a crisis. Both agencies worked "on the operational side" of TXU's communications during the deal, she said.

Public Strategies president and CEO Jeff Eller said his agency "assisted in the coordination of the communication effort" on the buyer side, and added that all the work was done "with the full knowledge of all involved."

Such double-sided work is uncommon on such a large deal, but not unheard of.

Texas Pacific worked with Owen Blicksilver PR, its longtime agency, noted agency CEO Owen Blicksilver.

TXU's deal - which surpassed the $39 billion Blackstone buyout of Equity Office Properties last month as the largest deal ever - still may face regulatory hurdles in Texas, where the legislature is considering its impact on the state's consumers. But TXU's outreach to well-known environmental groups before the deal succeeded in winning preemptive support from groups that could have emerged as vocal opponents.

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