Luther Pendragon steps up lobbying activity

Luther Pendragon this week completed a burst of public affairs activity by snapping up lobbying firm Quintus and winning a major account with British Horseracing.

Luther has inked the deal with Quintus, three months after PRWeek revealed talks were taking place (PRWeek, 4 September). Quintus was set up in 2003 by Chris Guyver, a former head of public affairs at Burson-Marsteller. Clients include Betfair, the Rank Group and the Lap Dancing Association.

The deal will see Guyver and his staff move across to Luther Pendragon. Quintus is currently based in Westminster, with a head count of 18 staff.

Under the new arrangements, it is understood the Quintus name will no longer be used. Agency sources confirmed a deal had been struck, but neither side was able to comment. An official announcement is expected next week.

In addition, Luther Pendragon has fought off tough competition to be awarded the unified public affairs contract within British Horseracing.

The agency will report to a newly established stakeholder group, encompassing the British Horseracing Authority, the Racecourse Association, Jockey Club and others. The pitch process was reported earlier this year, when a spokesman for the new group said it was keen to establish 'a more joined-up approach to the industry's political communications' (PRWeek, 11 September).

Some 30 agencies are said to have expressed an interest in the brief, with Luther and Quintus pitching jointly for the work.

It is understood that Guyver will head up the British Horseracing account, which takes effect in January 2010.

The British Horseracing Authority currently uses Mandate Communications.

A spokesman for the British Horseracing Authority said: 'We are all enormously excited ... Racing will be speaking with one voice on the major issues that affect it, and building on our already strong cross-party support within Westminster and beyond.'

Luther Pendragon, which declines to join the APPC, also recently pitched for the Virgin Media account, worth around £200,000 per year. PRWeek revealed last month that Weber Shandwick was set to lose the account after more than four years.

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