Private equity groups TDR Capital and Capricorn Ventures International enlisted GA's expertise as they announced a possible counter bid to top Johnson's friendly offer.
GA, which enters the top ten of UK City PR advisers for the first time since December, becomes the third PR agency to advise on the deal.
The restaurant chain's retained agency Citigate Dewe Rogerson works opposite Financial Dynamics, which was hired late last month by Johnson and his bidding vehicle Venice to help see the agreed offer go through.
FD and CDR secure rankings of third and sixth place respectively.
Meanwhile, The Maitland Consultancy returned to the top slot advising on three deals totalling £4.8bn, according to the data produced exclusively for PRWeek by M&A information database Zephyr.
Maitland enters the table after a one-month absence, working on the biggest deal last month - BP's announcement it would buy a 50 per cent stake in Russian oil and gas business Tyumen Oil.
BP's deal marks the start of a joint initiative with the Russian group, in which BP is set to invest £4.2bn over the next four years.
Brunswick scooped second place, handling nine deals worth £3.2bn, the largest being the completion of Candover Investment and Cinven's £1.2bn takeover of client Gala, the bingo and casino giant. FD advised private equity group Cinven on the deal.
Tavistock earned fifth place working with long-term client Vodafone on a number of transactions.
Vodafone last month bought out Portuguese telecoms group Vodafone Telecel-Comunicacoes Pessoasis, topping up the 61.4 per cent controlling stake it already held in the group.
Industry speculation also suggests the UK mobile phone group is considering selling its Japan Telecom subsidiary for £1.5bn to bidder Ripplewood Holdings, although no formal offer has been put on the table.
Cubitt Consulting edged into seventh place in the ranking, compiled according to publicised deals involving at least one UK company. The agency handled three deals worth £304m, including Austrian oil client OMV's £249m takeover of Bavarian group Bayernoil and a number of BP assets in Germany and Slovakia.
DEAL WATCH FEBRUARY 2003 RANKING
Rank Financial PR Company No of Deal Value
Deals pounds m
1 The Maitland Consultancy 3 4,850
2 Brunswick 9 3,208
3 Financial Dynamics 16 2,912
4 Gavin Anderson & Company 2 701
5 Tavistock Communications 4 508
6 Citigate Dewe Rogerson 8 423
7 Cubitt Consulting 3 304
8 Redleaf Communications 3 263
9 Fishburn Hedges 1 143
10 Tulchan Communications 1 107
Source: Bureau van Dijk - ZEPHYR