Reputation monitor: Vodafone sponsorship withdrawal hits Man Utd

Vodafone’s withdrawal from its four-year, £9m-a-year shirt sponsorship deal with Manchester United last week gave the club – also in danger of elimination from the Champions’ League – a rare appearance near the foot of Reputation Monitor.

Assurances from the club that blue-chip companies were queuing up to feature on the famous red shirt could not prevent its poor ranking. But United did fare much better this week over its handling of the death of iconic former player George Best.

Electronic Data Systems hit the foot of the table after it agreed to pay the Government £71m compensation in an out-of-court settlement. The offer puts an end to a claim from HM Revenue & Customs, formerly the Inland Revenue, made after EDS's glitch-ridden IT system triggered more than £2bn in overpayments when the tax credit scheme was introduced in 2003.

Scottish Power's reputation was damaged when it turned down Eon's £11.3bn takeover bid. The offer was the third that German utility company Eon has made since September.

At the top of the table, Marks & Spencer's glamorous spring/summer catwalk show received glowing reviews, with many journalists concluding that the brand was back in fashion.

Reputation Monitor is compiled from Thomson Intermedia's National News Index, a measure of media sentiment that excludes stock market reports and passing mentions.

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