Great Universal Stores, the agency mail order retailer, is believed
to be close to appointing lobbying firm GJW to advise it in its dollars
1.6 million hostile bid for catalogue chain Argos.
GJW’s initial brief is political monitoring, with potential for a wider
remit according to how the bid, launched two weeks ago, progresses. Lowe
Bell Political are believed to have pitched for the account.
The takeover is currently not expected to be referred to the Monopolies
and Mergers Commission (MMC) on the back of a precedent set during high
street and catalogue retailer Littlewoods’ bid for Sears-owned mail
order operation Freemans last year.
The MMC report in that case made a distinction between two types of
catalogue retailing: the agency sector, which GUS’s businesses come
under, and the direct sector, which best describes Argos’s activity. GUS
and Argos are relying on their retained financial agencies, Finsbury and
Brunswick respectively, for PR during the bid.