The volume of coverage given to the two supermarket giants was largely due to their involvement in the long-running takeover battle for Safeway.
However, one reason why Tesco outperformed Asda, according to survey compilers Thomson Intermedia, was its release of better-than-expected pre-tax profits of £628m, following this year’s unusually hot summer. The supermarket also saw its shares leap six per cent to 242.5p during the period measured – 18 August to 19 September.
Thomson analyses coverage in the financial and business press and awards a score based on its National News Index methodology, which gave Tesco a rating of 382.5.
Meanwhile, Asda’s largely favourable coverage (NNI score of 218.1) was offset by negative coverage of its failed attempt to team up with northern supermarket giant Wm Morrison in the Safeway bid.
Investment bank Goldman Sachs was a new entry into the top ten in second place. The bank’s PR team did well to generate coverage of its normal business activity, such as its mandate to handle Aviva’s £1.2bn corporate bond market issue in sterling and euro markets.
Also, Goldman Sachs chairman Henry Paulson’s decision to speak out against fat-cat pay awards in the US attracted much favourable attention. He was among a number of senior financial figures who criticised the reported £86m pay deal of New York Stock Exchange chairman Dick Grasso.
Outside the top ten, the worst performer in the business and financial press during the period measured was stockbroker Collins Stewart Tullett, which is embroiled in a legal spat with a former employee and with the Financial Times.
Also still in the bottom ten is the BBC, which continues to come under criticism in the Hutton Inquiry into the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly.
Meanwhile, third from bottom of the chart is Powerhouse, as the electrical retailer’s customers were told they would be refunded for orders as the company collapsed. New Zealand-based Pacific Retail Group finally stepped in with a rescue deal.
Another poor performer, Enron, continued to be cited as an example of corporate fraud, especially as former Enron Treasurer Ben Gilsan hit the headlines when sentenced to five years imprisonment on fraud charges.