INTERNATIONAL: Zebank buy prompts Egg review in France

Online bank Egg is carrying out a review of PR across France

following its takeover of French internet financial firm Zebank.



Egg corporate communications head Emma Byrne has confirmed the bank will

be looking at its internal and external PR needs in France and later in

Europe as a result of the acquisition.



Prudential-owned Egg is set to put in place a PR function to support its

announced aims of attracting one million customers in France over the

next three years.



The internet bank employed a team of corporate communications

specialists from Euro RSCG for local media relations and PR surrounding

the French acquisition, with additional communications support from UK

City PR firm Financial Dynamics.



Byrne said it was too early to comment on possible pitches or details of

future briefs, but said they would be looking for a 'full service

consultancy proposition'.



'We have done the City announcement so now I have to look at the

consumer proposition,' she added.



Egg bought Zebank - Bernard Arnault's online financial business - for

£23m last week.



The bank also pledged to spend £100m on the expansion into France

with ambitions for the French business to break even by 2004.



With the Zebank acquisition, Egg has also opened its first high street

branch - or 'physical manifestation' - in La Samaritaine, the flagship

Paris store in Arnault's LVMH luxury goods group.



Zebank, which has 70,000 customers and 120,000 accounts, has an in-house

PR team of eight.



Egg is reported to be considering whether to keep the Zebank brand

alongside its own.



In the UK, Egg decided to scrap its roster of retained agencies in

favour of appointing external consultancies on an ad hoc basis (PRWeek,

29 June 2001).



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