While it is open market at the moment on specialist PR firms, the
sale of GJW to BSMG stands out as a particularly shrewd deal on the part
of the public affairs firm - particularly as this is the second time
that the directors have managed to offload the company at what is
ostensibly the top of the market.
It was back in 1987 that the directors first sold the company for pounds
5 million, only to buy it back six years later for pounds 1 million. In
this latest deal with BSMG, the company comes with a price tag of pounds
7-pounds 8 million. A neat trick.
GJW’s credentials, particularly in the area of competition and
regulatory work, are impeccable. The loss of Rory Chisholm to Finsbury
means that CEO Andrew Gifford may have to take a more hands-on role in
this area however.
Across town BSMG’s loss is Finsbury’s gain. The fast-growing financial
agency plans to use the appointment of Chisholm as a springboard for the
launch of a dedicated regulatory and public affairs practice.
The marriage between financial PR and public affairs is hardly
revolutionary and agencies such as Financial Dynamics and Brunswick have
accumulated substantial regulatory expertise. But at present most tend
to migrate that expertise from mainstream financial PR as competition
and regulatory issues arise.
The London markets are particularly strong at the moment, while the
fluidity of European markets offer the potential for an increasing
amount of cross-border work. With the creation of a separate unit
marketing competition and regulatory expertise, Finsbury is well poised
to take advantage of a buoyant market, particularly if it can firm up a