Standard Life moots City shop as flotation looms

Standard Life, the largest of the UK’s dwindling band of mutual financial services groups, is in talks with City PR firms ahead of its stock market listing later this year.

It is thought to have approached several agencies about the brief, though Standard Life head of media relations Scott White insisted that discussions with City firms did not constitute a formal tender.
'We are having a couple of chats with a number of PR agencies,' White said. 'There may be opportunities and an appointment of an agency in the future.'

Standard Life is set to demutualise through a stock market listing in July, though some market commentators have suggested that the timeframe is too tight. Contacting all 2.4 million of the group's members to inform them that they qualify for a windfall could prove logistically difficult. It has been estimated that on average, policyholders could expect a payout of £1,000.

Members have to approve the plan in May with an agreed change of
status going before the Court of Session in Edinburgh. Flotation would be likely to soon follow.

Standard Life's IPO could be the biggest in recent years, valuing the company at more than £4bn.

But White said it would be a few months before Standard Life launched any formal pitch process.

He added that the company had not used a financial comms agency since parting ways at the end of 2004 with retained adviser Brunswick (PRWeek, 25 February 2005).  The agency held the brief for four years.

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