GKN boosts comms operation including Brunswick hire amid £7bn hostile takeover bid

FTSE 100-listed engineering giant GKN has bolstered its comms operation, including the appointment of Brunswick and additional work for retained agency FTI Consulting, amid a £7bn hostile takeover bid from Melrose.

GKN: Melrose approach was 'opportunistic' and 'unsolicited'
GKN: Melrose approach was 'opportunistic' and 'unsolicited'

FTI is "leading the frontline battle", handling media briefings, rebuttles, and other day-to-day work, GKN director of external relations Chris Saunders told PRWeek.

He said Brunswick had been brought in "to work on some of the longer term strategy work" for the biggest hostile takeover bid since Kraft Heinz’s £115bn failed approach for Unilever last February. Brunswick's brief is headed by global CEO Susan Gilchrist.

Saunders, who was previously senior advisor to former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, said his role at GKN has also changed. He now handles day-to-day communications for the proposed takeover, working with director of strategy and communications Jennifer Midura.

GKN, the UK’s third biggest aerospace company that also has a large automotive manufacturing arm, has described the unsolicited approach as "opportunistic" and "unsolicited". Melrose, a company that specialises in buying underperforming manufacturing businesses, argued that there would be significant operational and commercial benefits from a takeover.

The proposed deal has come under scrutiny by high-profile voices including Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable, who Tweeted last month:

Pressed on the issue in Parliament on Wednesday, Cabinet Office minister David Lidington said it is something ministers in the Ministry of Defence and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy "will be monitoring very closely".

PR for Melrose is handled by retained agency Montfort Communications.

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