Editorial: Untimely speculation

The speculation that the two great houses of UK public relations - Shandwick and Lowe Bell - might be considering a union sent a ripple of excitement through the business.

The speculation that the two great houses of UK public relations -

Shandwick and Lowe Bell - might be considering a union sent a ripple of

excitement through the business.



Both sides flatly deny the story, but one can see how such rumours

start.



The two came close to a deal before, in 1991. And there are obvious

synergies between the two. Lowe Bell’s financial capability would boost

defection-hit Shandwick Consultants, while Shandwick’s international

strength and depth would be a boon to Lowe Bell’s ambitions.



The timing is off, however. Both companies are soaring, and there is not

the same desire to seek refuge in each other’s arms as there was during

the dark days of the recession.



Indeed Shandwick’s annual report, issued last week along with a glossy

and impressive report on global reputation management, positively oozes

big company confidence. With its sights now firmly focused on the global

picture, and its own change programme well under way, the moment may

well have passed for such a deal.



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