CHICAGO: Edelman and BSMG's FRB are waiting to see who will share
the spoils of Kraft Foods' planned dollars 5 billion public offering. IR
and financial communications fees associated with the planned stock sale
could reach the mid-six-figure range, say IR professionals.
Edelman is Kraft's long-time corporate agency and BSMG does Kraft
product PR. BSMG is trying to leverage its connection to get its FRB
unit, the former Financial Relations Board, considered for the IR
Kraft and parent Philip Morris wouldn't comment on plans to hire IR
help, citing the quiet period associated with registration statement
filed for Kraft shares March 16. Philip Morris hasn't specified how many
Kraft Class A shares it plans to sell, but it will retain control of
Kraft after the sale. It estimated Kraft would raise up to dollars 5
billion through the sale.
Ted Pincus, CEO of FRB and a vice chairman of BSMG, declined to
Hollis Rafkin-Sax, Edelman's financial practice GM, said she could not
comment either, but added 'we've been their long-time agency of
I think we've had a very good relationship for something like 25
Companies involved in IPOs normally turn to firms they've worked with in
the past to handle IR, said Robert Ferris, EVP with Ruder Finn. 'In IR,
there's not as much shopping for firms as in PR. You're much more a
confidante,' he said.
Whomever gets the work, they'll have to deal with Philip Morris' many
vocal opponents. Activist group INFACT has been sponsoring a boycott of
Kraft products because of its ownership by a big tobacco company and
won't drop the boycott as long as Philip Morris retains control.
Kraft IR could use the current bear market to its advantage, positioning
itself as a long-established company with widely known products that
would appeal to investors looking for safe haven stocks in today's