ANALYSIS: BIG QUESTION; What effect would statutory regulation have on PR during bids?

WMC has been hired by the Takeover Panel to campaign against a proposed EC directive

WMC has been hired by the Takeover Panel to campaign against a proposed

EC directive

Anthony Hilton City Editor, Evening Standard

‘The difference that legalism will bring is to make it harder to take

over companies because it will be subject to challenge. The process will

be more drawn out but I don’t think that will make a great deal of

difference to fees. Instead of a short period of hectic activity there

will be a longer period that is less intense. In any case, most bids

aren’t contested and I don’t agree with the Takeover Panel that every

company will go to their lawyers.’

Charles Cook Grandfield

‘By and large the self-regulatory environment of the City of London has

proved to be more rather than less effective. And as far as PR companies

are concerned, we know what the rules are related to the Takeover Code.

One definition of a well-prosecuted hostile bid has always been that the

protagonists complain at least once to the Takeover Panel. I’m not sure

that necessarily writing down legislative rules is going to improve what

is by definition a dynamic and creative process.’

James Murray Deutsche Morgan Grenfell

‘Moving to central statutory regulation increases the risk of

litigation, which could be bad for shareholders. But regulation of any

sort does present opportunities for professional communicators to act as

guides though the administration thicket.’

Ken Wild Institute of Chartered Accountants

‘We have in the Takeover Panel and the City Code an unrivalled system

for fast, flexible and fair regulation of takeover activity.

I believe that the new proposed European Commission directive will allow

that system to continue and provide a framework for other member states

to build on.’

Jonathan Clare Citigate

‘None. Because the job revolves around detailed arguments put to

sophisticated people; cheap shots scored through leaks carry little

weight. Financial public relations is already regulated - by the law,

the Stock Exchange’s rule book and the Takeover Code. No-one should work

in financial public relations without understanding the obligations and

responsibilities they carry. Intelligent people properly trained will

give better results than bureaucracy any day.’

The Big Question is edited by Lexie Goddard

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