DUBAI: On the day that APCO was retained by Dubai Ports World in a quest to retain control of six major US ports owned by UK company P&O Ports, Senator John Warner (R-VA) took the senate floor to read an announcement from DP World that it would not pursue direct ownership after all, and would instead transfer the ports to an American-owned company.
DP World's international PR counsel is Tim Ryan of Bell-Pottinger UK. Crisis and media relations are handled by Andrew Rice and Mark Dennis of Cuestamar Associates. Exelar provided war-room logistics and information-management capabilities.
The company brought in independent shop APCO to handle strategic counsel and media support according to B. Jay Cooper, deputy-managing director in APCO's Washington office. It is unknown how this development will affect APCO's work.
Cooper said that in recent weeks, DPW's COO Ted Bilkey and Rob Scavone, EVP of P&O Ports have been traveling to port cities to explain the deal to local press. DP World conceded as much, but would not elaborate or say how the decision to forgo efforts to control the ports would change its US PR efforts.
Last month the United Arab Emirates-owned company decided to postpone the takeover of the ports, which are in Miami, Newark, New York, Baltimore and New Orleans, but early last week had reiterated its intention to go through with the acquisition despite a Congressional committee vote to block the deal entirely.
** This story previously incorrectly suggested that APCO Worldwide was the strategic lead on the DP World case in the US.