The Co-op’s campaign to fend off a pounds 1.5 billion bid from
Andrew Regan’s Lanica Trust has been secretly aided by a pro-Labour PR
Luther Pendragon has been briefing journalists against the deal
apparently at the behest of the Labour Party, which wants to keep its
involvement at ’arm’s length’.
A source at the agency confirmed it had been helping the Co-op ’on the
quiet’. Chief executive George Pitcher has also used his column in trade
magazine Marketing Week to suggest a Labour government could scupper the
deal. The source confirmed the agency’s action was unpaid but ’clearly
at the behest of a potential Labour Government’ which sees the Co-op as
a prime example of the stakeholding philosophy championed by Labour
leader Tony Blair.
Guernsey-incorporated investment trust Lanica has set up a special
investment vehicle, Galileo, to mount the bid and brought in PR advisers
in the shape of former UBS PR man Damian McCrystal and David Bick of
PR advisers to the Co-op are Malcolm Hurlston Corporate Consultancy and
Keith McDowall Associates.