Brunswick is currently advising rival miner BHP Billiton over its £61bn bid for Rio Tinto. The City agency will retain Anglo American’s work in South Africa, but FD has taken over the UK brief.
FTSE 100 firm Anglo American would not comment on the change in agencies, but confirmed it had occured. FD financial comms chairman Andrew Lorenz heads the account, reporting to Anglo head of investor and corporate affairs Nick von Schirnding. Mining and metals MD Jon Simmons and senior V-P Ben Brewerton are also advising.
The mining firm knew FD through the agency’s work on the de-merger of paper and packaging business Mondi from Anglo American earlier this year.
Anglo American is the world’s second-largest mining company, and this week also dropped financial adviser Goldman Sachs for the same reason it cut UK ties with Brunswick.
It is not the first time FD has seen client movement because of conflict of interest. Last year the agency actually lost a client – US-based risk consultancy company Kroll – because the agency’s owner, FTI Consulting, is a Kroll rival (PRWeek, 28 October 2006).
Brunswick will now focus on Anglo American’s South African comms and advising on what could become one of the world’s biggest mergers.
A Rio-BHP combination, if it occurs, would create one of the world’s largest companies with a 27 per cent share of the iron ore market – the basic material for steel – as well as a top position for several other commodities.
BHP is to lose its top communicator as revealed last week (PRWeek, 30 November). Mark Lidiard, V-P IR and comms for more than five years, had been ‘looking for another role internally’ for the past 12 months but had not found a suitable position. BHP is now running comms from the Australian half of the dual-listed firm.