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
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.