Lansons drafted in over 'split-caps' battle

Split capital investment trust Real Estate Opportunities - the company embroiled in an acrimonious fight with Aberdeen Asset Management over more than £165m of losses - has hired Lansons Communications for PR support.

The trust firm drafted in Lansons as it stepped up its fight to recover cash for shareholders from debt-ridden Aberdeen, which it claims was responsible for the multi-million pound shortfall.

The row is expected to escalate into a lengthy court battle, following Real Estate's announcement it is ditching Aberdeen in favour of rival asset manager Invesco Perpetual.

Aberdeen, which retains City PR firm Gavin Anderson, has refuted the claims and is pressing for payment of fees and damages for wrongful termination of contract.

Lansons has been hired to handle a strategic and media relations brief for the group, reporting to Real Estate chairman Ray Horney.

The financial services agency will represent the trust in its fight to try and recoup the £165m, with Lansons CEO Tony Langham leading an account team of three.

Real Estate commissioned law firm Slaughter and May last year to review the management of its assets.

Aberdeen, which is battling to pay off a £220m debt, is already being examined by the Financial Services Authority as part of a long-running investigation into the split cap scandal, which alleges that split capital managers colluded to prop up their share prices.

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