What the Papers say: Rentokil bid leads to scathing press

Phoney war or 'one of the most aggressively personal takeover bid battles in recent years' (Sunday Times, 28 August)? Sir Gerry Robinson's intended bid for Rentokil woke up the August City pages, but many were sceptical about the timing, credibility and value of it.

'His tilt at Rentokil seems ill-prepared, perhaps even incompetent' (Sunday Telegraph, 28 August); 'there are question marks over the structure of any deal from Sir Gerry ... and doubts over his commitment to the sweat of a full-time turnaround' (The Times, 24 August). Rentokil CEO Doug Flynn helped swing the battle in his favour with a defence of his track record: 'I don't lack in balls,' he told The Sunday Telegraph (28 August). 'It wouldn't surprise me if those guys don't turn up,' (FT, 26 August).

But the 'horrible' interim results and Flynn's admission that problems were 'much worse than I expected' (FT, 26 August) suggest Rentokil's woes go deeper than its leadership. Seen as a 'thinly disguised ragbag of corporate clutter' (The Sunday Times, 28 August). Rentokil faces calls for its break-up. Whoever ends up leading Rentokil, it may be a case of winning the battle but losing the war.

City and corporate, p13

Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek from NewsNow. www.echoresearch.com www.newsnow.co.uk.

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