Citizens highlights benefits of independence in IPO comms

As Citizens Financial Group transitions to becoming an independent company, the bank is communicating the benefits and opportunities behind spinning off from RBS, according to a source familiar with the situation.

PROVIDENCE, RI: As Citizens Financial Group transitions to becoming an independent company, the bank is communicating the benefits and opportunities behind spinning off from RBS, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Ogilvy Public Relations, which has been Citizens’ national PR agency since 2012, assisted the bank with outreach to top tier print and broadcast business media for its first day of public trading last Wednesday, which marked the largest bank IPO since the financial crisis, the source said.

Finsbury also worked on the IPO, providing strategic financial media messaging and communications counsel, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Citizens ended its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange at $23.08, a 7.35% gain on its IPO price. The offering valued Citizens at roughly $12 billion.

Internally, Citizens handled the 10-day investor roadshow leading up to the event, which saw active debate over the price being asked for the shares, according to media reports.

The bank’s internal team also managed social media, posting images on its social networks from the NYSE event, the source confirmed.

Last week, RBS CEO Ross McEwan said in a statement, "The sale of Citizens is an integral part of the RBS capital plan. This IPO represents a key step on the path to full divestment. Selling Citizens will significantly improve our capital position and help us to create a strong and secure bank that can continue to fully support the needs of its customers."

In the IPO, Citizens is offering 140 million shares, marking a 25% divestiture from RBS, which is 80% state-owned. By the end of 2016, the Scottish bank plans to have fully divested Citizens, which is currently the 13th largest bank in the US, with approximately 18,000 staffers and 5 million customers.

RBS has owned Citizens since 1988, when it acquired the company for $440 million to help build global reach.

Representatives from Ogilvy and Citizens declined to comment.

Citizens’ IPO came a week after Alibaba’s debut on the NYSE, which closed its first day of trading at $93.89, a 38% gain on its IPO price.

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