Man United hires GJW for BSkyB takeover PR

The board of Manchester United Football Club has hired GJW to lobby regulators for approval of its controversial takeover deal with BSkyB.

The board of Manchester United Football Club has hired GJW to lobby

regulators for approval of its controversial takeover deal with

BSkyB.



The board is understood to want to refocus the debate away from football

broadcasting rights and towards the interests of UK football.



BSkyB’s bid to buy the club was announced earlier this year and is

currently being investigated by competition authority the Monopolies and

Mergers Commission, which is due to report on the issue next March.



GJW’s work begins immediately and will last until Secretary of State for

Trade and Industry Peter Mandelson decides whether the bid should go

through. His decision is expected at the end of April.



GJW has been briefed to ensure that civil servants and politicians

involved in the investigation understand why it is in the interests of

the club that BSkyB be allowed to acquire Manchester United.



The account will be handled by GJW managing director Andrew Gifford and

director Rory Chisholm.



So far, the debate over whether BSkyB’s bid should be allowed to pass

has concentrated on the power it would give the company in the

negotiations for the TV rights to the FA Carling Premiership. Were it to

acquire the club, BSkyB would be represented on both the clubs’ and the

broadcasters’ sides of the negotiations.



BSkyB’s interests are being represented by Bell Pottinger. Meanwhile,

opposition to the bid is being orchestrated by ad hoc lobby group

Shareholders United Against Murdoch, whose members include Paul

Richards, a senior counsellor at Chelgate who has been handling media

relations for the group pro bono.



The shareholders group has lobbied MPs since BSkyB announced its bid

three months ago. Last month, Worsley MP Terry Lewis put forward an

early day motion in the House of Commons against the bid, which was

signed by over 140 MPs.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.