Lord Kirkham appoints Tulchan to assist DFS bid

DFS executive chairman Lord Kirkham has hired Tulchan Communications to handle financial PR surrounding his bid to buy the sofa retailer.

Lord Kirkham announced his offer for the firm, which he founded 35 years ago, earlier this month for 415p a share.

Working on the account are Tulchan founder Andrew Grant and consultant Kirsty Hamilton, who report directly to Kirkham. The hire does not affect DFS’s relationship with its retained financial

PR agency Hudson Sandler, which is handling PR for the firm surrounding Lord Kirkham’s bid.

A key message being promoted to the financial press and City analysts from Tulchan is the context of Kirkham’s bid. It follows a profit warning in January and comes amid increasing opposition from firms moving into the home furnishings sector including Argos and Marks & Spencer.

Grant said: ‘It’s important to put this into context. [Lord Kirkham] feels that with this increasing competition the firm can be best managed as a private company.’

Grant added that this did not mean redundancies were planned if the firm, which went public a decade ago, is taken back into private hands.

The DFS board has formed an independent committee to consider Lord Kirkham’s bid. It is understood that a decision is not likely for at least two months. Last week it was reported that institutional shareholders were not likely to accept a bid for less than 450p a share.

A source close to Lord Kirkham said: ‘It’s the job of shareholders to demand more. They wouldn’t be behaving as shareholders should if they didn’t.’

The source added that despite this higher figure Lord Kirkham’s bid was ‘full and fair’, especially as analysts had previously valued the firm at 350p a share.

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