Close Brothers shortlist narrowed down to two

Close Brothers Corporate Finance is on the verge of awarding its corporate media relations account following a review which started in February.

Four agencies – Citigate Dewe Rogerson, Weber Shandwick Square Mile, Capital MS&L and Merlin Financial – were invited to pitch at the end of February.

Two were shortlisted last week for the job, according to CBCF PR manager Justin Clark, who was appointed to the newly created post in December. They are understood to be Citigate and Merlin.

The winning agency will replace retained incumbent Grandfield, in place since January 2002. Grandfield was not invited to repitch, according to Clark.

‘We were very pleased with the work Grandfield did for us, but we thought a review was what we needed,’ he said.

He added that creating the PR manager post was part of ‘a commitment from the board to invest in a dedicated resource, as well as having external support’.

But Grandfield chairman Charles Cook said: ‘It was not a question of us not being invited to repitch. CBCF asked us if we’d be interested to repitch on a substantially reduced budget and we declined.’

The selected agency will handle media relations using national, business and trade press to raise awareness of the financial adviser’s expertise in corporate restructuring, debt advice and independent mergers and acquisitions counsel. The brief will also include the roll-out of a co-ordinated pan-European PR strategy in the third quarter of this year.

Parent investment banking firm Close Brothers achieved sales of $714.7m (£387.5m) for the 12 months to the end of July 2003, an increase of 18.2 per cent on the previous year.

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