Gavin Anderson hired for C&N Thomson bid

Gavin Anderson and Company has been appointed to handle financial PR for German travel agency C&N Touristic which has made an initial approach to buy the UK’s Thomson Travel.

Gavin Anderson and Company has been appointed to handle financial

PR for German travel agency C&N Touristic which has made an initial

approach to buy the UK’s Thomson Travel.



’They have a small PR capability in-house in Germany, but we are now

acting on the development of their media relations in London,’ said

Howard Lee, chairman of Gavin Anderson.



’We are advising them on the PR strategy relating to this approach and

any bid there may be,’ he continued.



Thomson has rejected all approaches to date, which it says are at a

’wholly inadequate’ price. The company already uses the Maitland

Consultancy for its City PR.



Gavin Anderson was recommended to C&N by its merchant bankers Lazards on

account of its cross-border M&A experience.



Neither side would go into detail on its plans, but it is understood

that Gavin Anderson will seek to position its client as offering a

greater chance for the future growth of Thomson. At this stage, Maitland

is simply keen to underline that no formal bid has yet been made.



The German company has sought a recommendation from the Thomson board to

accept a price of 130p per share - valuing Thomson at pounds 1.3

billion.



The proposal represents a 36.5 per cent premium over the Thomson share

price at close on Monday 10 April.



C&N, which is jointly owned by the airline Lufthansa and retailer

Karstadt, is the second-largest travel company in Germany. It would

become the largest in Europe if the bid were successful, with combined

sales of pounds 6 billion and pre-tax profit of pounds 190 million -

around half contributed by each of the two companies.



When, and if, an offer document is posted, the two sides will have 60

days in which to influence the opinion of shareholders. The German

group, which already owns 4.8 per cent of Thomson, would need to

persuade investors holding more than 50 per cent of the shares to back

the bid.



More than 20 per cent is still owned by the Thomson family and a

significant amount of the share capital is distributed among private

investors who were encouraged to sign up at flotation in 1998 with the

promise of discounted holidays. Lee accepted that this would make PR

more important in any upcoming battle.



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