Lobbyists assert role after Government M&A decision

Lobbyists have spoken out to assure clients that they will still have a role in lobbying on mergers and acquisitions, following Government moves to depoliticise the decision-making process on competition issues.

Lobbyists have spoken out to assure clients that they will still

have a role in lobbying on mergers and acquisitions, following

Government moves to depoliticise the decision-making process on

competition issues.



On Friday, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Stephen Byers

announced plans to give independent competition authorities, the Office

of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission more responsibility for

decisions on most mergers.



Byers believes this can be achieved by taking ministers out of the

decision-making, thereby depoliticising the process. Lobbyists believe

this still leaves them with a role to play alongside lawyers and

corporate financiers.



Competition lobbying is the most lucrative area of the profession. Top

consultants can double their fees for working on competition issues to

as much as pounds 3,000 per day.



APPC chairman Michael Burrell believes the impending legislation will

change the targets of lobbyists, but will not affect the industry

adversely.



’In the past, lobbyists tried to ensure MPs understood clients’ points

of view, but now the target will change to competition authorities,’ he

said.



Simon Nayyar, chairman of the PRCA public affairs committee, believes

mergers and acquisitions are inherently political because of their

effect on local regions and issues of social exclusion, meaning

lobbyists will still be needed.



’Any decision which could significantly impact on the structure of

society is political and will be subject to political interest and

debate. Clients will still need the strategic advice of lobbyists,’ he

said.



Letters, p9.



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