Vodafone work catapults Tavistock into top M&A slot

Tavistock Communications is at the top of this month’s merger and acquisition PR adviser league table for the first time in two years, according to the latest Deal Watch figures.

It is also the first time that the firm has featured in the top ten of PR firms advising on City transactions since March, when it held fifth place (PRWeek, 7 March).

Tavistock was helped back to the number one position it last held in November 2001 by advising Vodafone on the sale of its fixed-line subsidiary Japan Telecom Holdings to RHJ Industrial Partners for £1.3bn, August’s second largest deal.

The firm also advised Vodafone on the £405m acquisition of mobile phone service provider Singlepoint.

In a month where the total on which the top ten firms advised fell by £2.4bn to £11.2bn, Tavistock’s jump straight into the top of the table saw Finsbury fall into second place after holding the top spot for three months.

However, Tavistock’s total deal value of £1.7bn was well under half the £5.3bn Finsbury worked on in July. Last month, Finsbury managed to work on deals worth just £1.6bn, its most significant work being advice to insurance group Chubb on a £622m bid for the company by Ceesail.

CardewChancery, Fishburn Hedges, Golin/Harris International and Grandfield all joined as new entries to the table’s top ten this month, while Brunswick, The Maitland Consultancy and Hudson Sandler all lost their top ten spots.

Some of the new entries benefited from the ongoing takeover battle for Ashanti Goldfields, which began with the original bid tabled by AngloGold.

While Citigate Dewe Rogerson is providing PR support to AngloGold, Golin/Harris International and Grandfield are advising Ashanti. CardewChancery are working for Lonmin, which has a 28 per cent stake in Ashanti.

Alice Tang, senior researcher at Zephus, which compiled the Deal Watch table for PRWeek, said that the entry of so many new PR firms to the top ten of the table was partly down to the increased visibility of firms advising on smaller transactions in a month when deal activity is traditionally low.

‘The lower deal volume is typical of the summer months, with the usual August slowness,’ she said.

Tang added that some firms, such as CardewChancery, were providing information for the first time, thus increasing their prominence in the Deal Watch survey.

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