CEOs should follow Chadlington lead

If only all CEOs were as voraciously acquisitive as Lord Chadlington, the picture sketched today by our financial PR league would be very different.

Chadlington's Huntsworth Group has remained true to its ambition of acquiring businesses large and small. The experience of Huntsworth, and to a lesser extent of hatch-group, the company led by Chadlington's Shandwick protege Michael Murphy - which this week unveiled its own acquisition - is representative of the M&A market at large.

As with the declining scale of transactions in PR consultancy - the Finsbury £50m is a distant memory - the value of deals has nosedived. This is best summed up by Brunswick's work in the year to date - it worked on half a dozen more deals this year than last, but their value slumped by a third.

With the City shedding jobs, it hardly needs saying that any deals at all are better than none. But while Chadlington is to be applauded for investing when so many of his peers cut back, for happier times to return, others will have to follow suit.

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