Investor nerves depress values in Deal Watch table

The M%26A PR adviser market has fallen to its lowest point in more than a year with investor nerves at an all-time high and a spate of aborted stock market flotations.

Deal Watch figures for June, compiled exclusively for PRWeek by corporate finance information service Zephus, show the largest deal last month stood at £1.4bn.

And the highest value of PR deals advised on by any one financial PR agency was £2.4bn - the lowest ever table-topping amount recorded in the Deal Watch ranking.

Brunswick managed to secure its lead in the tables despite market difficulties, handling communications on 13 deals - dropping from 20 deals, worth £9.36bn, in May.

The agency bagged last month's largest deal: London Electricity parent Electricite de France's £1.4bn bid for CSW Investments, which owns Seeboard.

Brunswick also advised on the two biggest IPOs last month, working with William Hill and John Wood Group on their stock market debuts.

Shares in William Hill, the UK's second largest bookmaker, got off to a flying start last month, brushing aside early jitters over its performance in the depressed new issues market.

Oil and gas group John Wood, which hired Brunswick earlier this year (PRWeek, 2 May), also outperformed expectations.

But the market remains broadly sceptical and recent last-minute decisions to pull floats for directories business Yell and DIY chain Focus Wickes reflect the extent of investor nervousness.

Hudson Sandler director Andrew Hayes, who is heading financial PR surrounding the postponed Focus Wickes IPO, said: 'However good the message, in the kind of markets we have experienced over the past year or so, investors are very nervous about committing cash.'

Weber Shandwick Square Mile bagged the third IPO to go ahead last month, advising PRI Group on its AIM listing.

The agency ranked second in the league, compiled according to publicised deals involving at least one UK company, notching up 11 deals worth £948m.

Meanwhile, the Impact Consultancy and Holborn PR achieved joint tenth position. Holborn advised children's media group Gullane Entertainment on its defence against a £139m hostile bid from Hit Entertainment, which retained Impact for PR on the same deal.

Leader, p8

DEAL WATCH JUNE 2002 RANKING
Rnk   Financial PR Company                    No of Deals     Deal Value
                                                                pounds m
1     Brunswick                                        13          2,434
2     Weber Shandwick Square Mile                      11            948
3     Citigate Dewe Rogerson                           11            874
4     The Maitland Consultancy                          4            857
5     Hogarth Partnership                               3            751
6     Financial Dynamics                               10            264
7     Bell Pottinger Financial                          2            201
8     Gavin Anderson & Company                          2            170
9     Finsbury                                          3            165
10=   Impact Consultancy                                1            139
10=   Holborn Public Relations                          1            139
Source: Zephus Corporate Finance Knowledge (www.zephus.com)

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