Halifax is planning to invite agencies to pitch for its corporate
and financial PR as it gears up for a period of City activity. The
building society turned bank has a pounds 6 billion war chest to target
Shandwick Consultants handled PR for Halifax during its flotation and
conversion to bank status but in June the Halifax moved its PR
Reacting to industry rumours that Halifax would hold a pitch next
February, Gary Marsh, head of group corporate affairs at the Halifax,
said: ’Some kind of beauty parade is possible next year. No decisions
have been made as yet as to the timing.’
Marsh added: ’We’ve done well in-house and are under no pressure but if
we look at acquisitions it would be nice to have somebody in place.’
The account team which handled Halifax at Shandwick has now
Rachel Hirst, who ran the account as a Shandwick director, is now a
director at Hogarth. Julian Walker is a director at Dewe Rogerson and
Roya Nasser has moved to Finsbury.
Since entering the stock market in June, Halifax has been linked with
takeovers of the M&G Group and Norwich Union. Its last major
acquisition, of Clerical Medical, was finalised in October 1996.
Halifax’s half-year profits to 30 June were up nine per cent to pounds
802 million. It remains the UK’s largest mortgage lender with 20 per
cent (pounds 5.2 billion) of the market. Around 7.5 million people
received windfall bonuses following Halifax’s conversion to bank status.