US telecommunications giant MCI WorldCom is overhauling its
pan-European PR operations, as the European Commission prepares to
launch an investigation into the company’s proposed pounds 80 billion
merger with Sprint Telecom.
The corporation is reviewing pan-European co-ordination, media relations
and public affairs, and is looking for a single agency to manage this
across 13 European countries.
It was confirmed by Angela Barker, MCI WorldCom’s director of corporate
communications that pitches were held in London on 22 February.
She would not be drawn on who took part but sources close to
negotiations confirmed that incumbent APCO, Brodeur Worldwide,
Countrywide Porter Novelli and the Weber Group Europe were in the
Luther Pendragon, which provides a full service to MCI WorldCom in the
UK, also advises the company on some pan-European issues, including
regulation, and targets the international press, but does not
co-ordinate media relations across the Continent.
A Luther Pendragon source said that the agency would continue
international liaison with senior executives at the corporation, rather
than have lots of people carrying out ’on-the-ground’ services across
Public affairs, and in particular the work on the merger with Sprint, is
currently handled by APCO’s Brussels office on a project basis.
The reorganisation of MCI WorldCom’s European PR machine comes at a time
when its communications need to be more coherent than ever before.
Reports claim that the EC inquiry into the planned merger will delay the
outcome for at least four months.
MCI Worldcom is the US’ second-largest telecoms operator after AT&T.
It operates in 65 countries and posted net profits of pounds 1.7 billion