Opinion: Maitland/APCO deal reflects latest boom

Are the Barbarians back at the gates?

The expression comes from an influential business book - by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar - on the takeover frenzy that gripped Wall Street in the late 1980s. This lurid account of deal-makers, financial PROs and strategy meetings suddenly feels contemporary.

In just one day this week, £40bn changed hands during a flurry of takeovers. M&A activity is now hitting the levels of the late 80s or 90s - as reflected in PRWeek's 2006 Financial League tables

But there are some fresh characteristics that have big implications for the PR industry. Not least, of course, the high financial value of recent deals. This, and the fact that many involve companies from developing markets - such as China, Russia and India - means regulatory issues are more commonplace. All of which provides the context for PRWeek's exclusive story this week that financial specialist Maitland and PA expert APCO are forging a new type of strategic alliance. The idea is to offer an integrated City PR/PA solution that looks ‘best in class'.

As APCO president Margery Kraus points out, issues raised by regulators, policy makers and the public in the major global capitals are big factors in determining the success of corporate transactions. To be fair, City PR giants Brunswick and Financial Dynamics have been bolstering their PA nous for some time now, while College Hill recently set up a lobbying arm (PRWeek, 20 October). But the Maitland/APCO deal should look innovative to clients.

It is a fascinating time to work in this area. Cross-border deals are becoming more common and big firms from China and Russia are defining themselves from scratch among Western political and business audiences, often fighting damaging preconceptions.

Consultancy empires can be built here. But just like any empire, they must be aware of a potential end to this boom. The Barbarians are never far from the gates.
danny.rogers@haynet.com

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

WPP sees PR revenue recovery thwarted by strong pound

WPP sees PR revenue recovery thwarted by strong pound

Burson-Marsteller parent company WPP has reported a 4.1 per cent drop in PR and public affairs revenue despite organic growth continuing across the regions in the final quarter of 2013.

Max Clifford trial jury finishes sixth day of deliberations

Max Clifford trial jury finishes sixth day of deliberations

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford on 11 charges of indecent assault has been sent home and will reconvene tomorrow morning for a seventh day of deliberations.

Analysis: Fishburn chiefs keep eyes on future despite mounting departures

Analysis: Fishburn chiefs keep eyes on future despite mounting departures

Fishburn's management have defended their reinvention of the 23-year-old agency amid industry mutterings, fed by a series of director-level departures, about the direction in which it is going.

Hit or Miss? EasyJet backs Shakespeare Day campaign with world record attempt

Hit or Miss? EasyJet backs Shakespeare Day campaign with world record attempt

EasyJet aimed to break the world record for the highest ever theatrical performance for Shakespeare's 450th birthday yesterday with the Reduced Shakespeare Company performing on a flight from Gatwick to Verona.