NEW YORK: Hill & Knowlton was responsible for the financial communications work surrounding the IPO of Baidu.com, the Chinese search engine whose 354% single-day gain earlier this month made it the most successful offering of the past five years.
H&K began preparations about three months prior to the IPO itself, according to N. Gregory Pettit, H&K SVP and director of financial communications. The agency?s Beijing office landed the account, then turned over control to New York, which spearheaded the process.
The bulk of the work in the run-up to the offering consisted of news monitoring, executive media training, and honing the company?s messaging and documentation, Pettit said.
?We knew there was going to be enthusiasm [for the IPO],? he said. ?I don?t think anybody?the executives, the bankers, or we?anticipated the absolute level of interest.?
While the heights to which the stock soared came as a surprise, most observers agreed beforehand that Baidu would be the hottest IPO of the season. The company, widely touted as the ?Chinese Google,? offers investors a foothold in China?s treasured and quickly growing internet market. Pettit said the decision to link the company to Google in investors? minds was not intentional marketing, but added, ?The fact is they are the largest search engine in China.?
H&K handled media booking on the frantic day of the IPO, giving an exclusive to the Wall Street Journal. The agency also took care of details ranging from photography to ?the cocktail napkins at the closing dinner that night,? Pettit said.
H&K will continue to work with the company for the next ?foreseeable few months,? and Pettit said they are in discussions about an ongoing relationship with the newly minted multibillion-dollar company.