Osmond appoints CDR for Six Continents bid

Leisure entrepreneur Hugh Osmond - who founded Punch Taverns and floated the Pizza Express chain - has called on Citigate Dewe Rogerson for City PR advice as he prepares to launch a £5.7bn bid for Six Continents.

Osmond's Aim-listed bid vehicle Capital Management and Investment (CMI) announced last week he was considering an unsolicited takeover of the hospitality giant - a move which has shocked Six Continents bosses as they prepare to demerge the group's pub and hotels business into two separate groups.

CMI drafted in CDR director Tony Carlisle for strategic PR counsel and media relations ahead of the prospective bid, which is mooted to go ahead this week.

Carlisle advised on communications surrounding one of Osmond's previous hostile bids - the successful takeover of Allied Domecq's pub business nearly four years ago.

Speculation suggests a bid from CMI would shatter Six Continents' plans to demerge its pub and hotel businesses, publicly dismissed as 'wasteful' by Osmond.

Osmond said this week of the potential bid and CDR's appointment: 'Six Continents' proposals fall a long way short - shareholders deserve better and deserve it now. That's what we're working on.'

Six Continents' five-year City PR incumbent Brunswick is handling defence communications opposite CDR, with founder Alan Parker adding heavyweight advice on the bid threat, supported by a team led by partner Fiona Antcliffe.

Six Continents CEO Tim Clarke and chairman Sir Ian Prosser are continuing with their demerger plans irrespective of Osmond's impending takeover approach.

The group denied speculation that the demerger EGM set for 12 March had been postponed, confirming it will go ahead to win shareholder approval.

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