WestLB and AWG beef up PR for takeover bid

Both sides in WestLB's threatened hostile takeover bid for Anglian Water parent AWG have drafted in financial PR support ahead of a potential deal that could be worth over £1bn.

Gavin Anderson has been called in by WestLB and bid vehicle Bream Investments to formulate a communications plan as the group considers a hostile takeover of utility giant AWG, following the firm's rejection of an earlier £900m informal offer.

WestLB - headed by CEO Robin Saunders - and Bream are considering their next move in the hope of starting friendly takeover negotiations, although the group has not ruled out a hostile bid.

GA divisional managing director Deborah Walter and London chairman Howard Lee are heading the brief.

The agency already works with one of the consortium members, Francis Gugen, in his role as chairman of mining firm client StrataGas.

Walter said the agency is 'on standby' ahead of a formal bid being made, initially handling City media relations.

Takeover target AWG has beefed up its own financial PR support by enlisting CardewChancery to provide strategic guidance.

The agency's chairman Anthony Cardew said they have been brought in to provide 'some additional muscle', working with retained agency Square Mile and reporting to AWG chairman Peter Hickson.

Cardew said: 'We're providing strategic direction. At the moment there's no formal bid, but the company needs the best advice it can get - the main aim is to make sure the shareholders have the best possible position should anyone bid for it.'

AWG shares soared 93p on news of the bid speculation, rising to over £5.20, which values the firm at £920m.

It is expected Bream will consider upping its offer, with guidance from financial adviser Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin.

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