City PR firms benefit from battle over Six Continents

The lengthy bidding process in the Six Continents pub and hotels demerger has provided a boon to the City PR sector, with the top three agencies in this month's Deal Watch providing financial PR support in the deal.

Brunswick moves from second place into top slot, having provided support to Six Continents during the failed hostile bid by entrepreneur Hugh Osmond.

Brunswick advised on seven deals totalling over £6.6bn, according to the data produced exclusively for PRWeek by M&A information database Zephyr.

Its other work included advising the UK arm of Thistle Hotels' Singapore-based bidder BIL.

Citigate Dewe Rogerson shot up from sixth place to second, having worked on seven deals valued in excess of £6.2bn.

The firm provided financial PR advice to Osmond's AIM-listed cash shell Capital Management & Investment in its failed bid for Six Continents.

Third-placed Finsbury appears after an absence from the table, leaping to third place, having handled three deals worth £6bn. Finsbury also advised Six Continents, which last week rejected another £2.8bn offer for its pub business from private equity firm BC Partners.

As PRWeek went to press, BC was understood to still be interested in making a bid for Mitchells & Butlers, the pubs business that is being demerged from Six Continents.

Financial Dynamics worked on 14 deals with a combined value of £1.9bn, which meant the firm dropped from third place to fourth.

The agency, which is still in MBO talks with troubled parent company Cordiant Communications, advised healthcare company Smith & Nephew Group in its £1.5bn cash and share deal with Swiss medical tech rival Centerpulse. Smith & Nephew's bid was agreed on 21 March.

Cinven Group put its Odeon cinema business - Britain's biggest cinema chain - up for sale in February and FD was hired for City PR support while bids were sought.

Odeon was then sold to a syndicate led by German investment bank WestLB last month for £431m.

Fifth-placed Gavin Anderson & Company, which falls one place, advised on three deals totalling £985m. The Omnicom-owned firm is also providing PR support to Royal & SunAlliance as it prepares for its initial public offering of subsidiary Promina in Australia. The flotation of its Australian assets is reported to be aimed at raising capital, following losses at the parent company in the wake of September 11.

DEAL WATCH MARCH 2003 RANKING

Ranking Financial PR Company No of Deals Deal Value

pounds m

1 Brunswick Group 7 6,616

2 Citigate Dewe Rogerson 7 6,243

3 Finsbury 3 6,007

4 Financial Dynamics 14 1,957

5 Gavin Anderson & Company 3 985

6 Hudson Sandler 3 348

7 The Hogarth Partnership 1 301

8 Weber Shandwick Square Mile 8 296

9 Tulchan Communications Group 5 238

10 Smithfield Financial 4 211

Source: Bureau van Dijk - ZEPHYR

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