Competition arbiter the Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC) is
seeking a PR agency to help it communicate the Government’s plans to
depoliticise the way controversial mergers are regulated.
Under Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers’ radical changes, the
MMC will be replaced by a more independent regulator, the Competition
Commission (PR Week, 5 February). The new commission will have the final
say on whether all mergers and acquisitions should be passed, save those
raising defence ornational security concerns.
The current rules mean that Byers can wave a merger through even if the
MMC has ruled it to be against the public interest.
The MMC has sent a brief to selected agencies, inviting them to propose
a strategy for communicating these changes to audiences including the
media, business and political opinion-formers. The agency would also be
briefed to sound out how the business community would view moves to
further open competition decisions to outside scrutiny, for example by
publishing evidence submitted to the MMC.
A spokeswoman for the MMC confirmed the commission has tendered for an
agency. ’We’ve identified things we wish to do to become more
transparent and want PR help,’ she said. She added that the exact brief
had yet to be determined and would depend on agency proposals. The MMC
hopes to appoint in the next two weeks.