Cruise operator takeover thrusts Brunswick ahead

Carnival’s £4.8bn takeover of P&O Princess Cruises cemented the group’s position as the world’s largest luxury cruise operator and helped Brunswick secure its lead at the top of the M&A PR adviser league.

The deal was the largest in the UK City M&A sector last month, and has involved a number of City PR advisers since negotiations first started over a year ago.

Brunswick worked for P&O opposite Carnival’s agency, Financial Dynamics, but consultancies Gavin Anderson and The Maitland Consultancy had also played a part earlier in the saga.

FD – second in the Deal Watch table compiled exclusively for PRWeek by M&A information database Zephyr – last week lost out against Brunswick to secure Carnival’s ongoing City PR brief despite a successful hostile bid campaign (PRWeek, 2 May).

FD also worked on the third biggest deal in April, client M&T Bank’s £2bn purchase of Allied Irish Bank’s US subsidiary, Allfirst Financial – at the centre of a £465m rogue trader scandal last February.

GA clawed back two places to steal third place in the rankings, produced according to publicised deals involving at least one UK company.

The Omnicom-owned shop worked opposite hatch-group’s City PR arm, Prospero Financial – which makes its first appearance in the league in fourth place – on client MIM Holdings’ £1.9bn sale to Anglo-Swiss mining group Xstrata.

GA is also handling PR for GondolaExpress – the preferred bidder for restaurant chain Pizza Express, advised by Citigate Dewe Rogerson.

Rival acquirer Venice Bidder, which is led by entrepreneur Luke Johnson and advised by FD, made a plea late last month for Pizza Express shareholders to reject Gondola’s offer after being jilted by the pizza chain.

The Hogarth Partnership ranks fifth behind newcomer Prospero, largely due to its work for private equity group CVC Capital Partners, which last month announced a £641m offer for Eon-owned electricity and water meter-reading business Viterra.

April also saw Scottish & Newcastle lodge a £369m bid for cider maker and Smithfield Financial client HP Bulmer. The offer coincided with S&N’s decision last month to sell off its pub and restaurant business to focus on brewing and drinks.

Maitland returns to the ranking after a one-month absence to take eighth place.

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