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
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
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
’In the past, lobbyists tried to ensure MPs understood clients’ points
of view, but now the target will change to competition authorities,’ he
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