Granada Media IPO
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
The successful flotation of 15 per cent of Granada Media was a critical element of Granada Group's strategy to transform the company into separate catering and media businesses.
The flotation announcement in May this year came in the middle of a presentation about Granada's plans to merge with Compass Group. This was initially received unfavourably and the challenge for the PR team was to focus attention on the flotation as a separate, positive story.
As the major ITV companies were preparing for the next round of consolidation, some parties were unhappy about Granada Media raising an extra pounds 1.5 billion to spend on acquisitions. The company was the subject of a hostile press campaign, and the PR team had to move fast to refute hostile stories from competitors.
The Government was reviewing the rules of ITV consolidation, and Granada wanted to have the flotation completed before an announcement was due in mid-July, so it would have the cash to react to the new rules.
A further complication was that Granada Media came to the market during a period of volatility in telecoms and media stocks, which meant that investors might be nervous about backing a new company in this sector.
Citigate addressed this by concentrating on the strengths of the business in its own right, whatever the environment, and ensuring the press understood that Granada Media would benefit from the development of new information channels, whether digital broadband or internet, and that its value was not only linked to the future of ITV. The consultancy, including its broadcast arm, also explained the merits of the media arm as a separate entity, rather than part of a wider group.
The team liaised closely with Granada Media's in-house team to make sure there was a constant flow of positive stories, such as a story about the adaptation of Coronation Street for Chinese audiences.
Once the flotation was announced, meetings were rapidly arranged between key commentators and chairman Charles Allen.
Almost every national newspaper ran pictures from photo shoots to mark the publication of the prospectus and the pricing of the offer on July 11. Granada Media enjoyed positive coverage throughout the flotation period and the flotation raised pounds 1,545 million. The share price continued to rise through the first months of trading.
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Citigate Dewe Rogerson
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