Retailer New Look puts corporate and financial work out to pitch

UK fashion retailer New Look is understood to have put its retained corporate and financial PR account out to pitch after little over seven months with financial PR specialist Brunswick.

'Strained relations': New Look could ditch agency
'Strained relations': New Look could ditch agency

The City agency picked up New Look's retained corporate PR account from Finsbury in October amid press speculation that the fashion chain was planning a float on the London Stock Exchange.

However, the firm scrapped its proposed initial public offering (IPO) in February, blaming uncertain conditions in the equity markets and a lack of appetite of potential investors. The high street retailer, which has more than 1,000 branches, called off the flotation ten days after it formally announced its IPO.

The decision marked the second time in two years that New Look had scrapped an initial IPO.

Industry sources suggested that Brunswick was unlikely to be on the repitch list of City firms, with the relationship between the two strained after the failed IPO.

The decision is also said to have been affected by the change of roles of Brunswick's highly respected senior partner Susan Gilchrist, who had headed the account. She is now based in New York, having taken up the new role of US managing partner in April.

It is thought that pitches are yet to take place and will be led by Sarah Rajani, who oversees the company's investor relations and corporate comms functions.

At the time of the failed float, City sources said that investors were particularly unreceptive to private equity-owned companies looking to float, given the cash raised is largely used to pay off debt. New Look itself carried about £1.1bn of debt at the time.

During the same week, two other private equity-related deals, Tulchan Communications-advised Merlin Entertainments and Finsbury-advised Travelport, also delayed their planned listing.

Brunswick and New Look were unavailable for comment when PRWeek went to press.

Brunswick served as New Look's retained corporate agency during its 2004 sale to private equity firms Permira and Apax for £699m.

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