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Big Looks Like The Best In The PR Game

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Big looks like the best in the PR game

A coming-of-age story for the PR industry with news that Tulchan is being sold to Teneo.

The FT puts the deal at £65 million, so that’s ballpark, but the final value will depend on how founder Andrew Grant and co perform over the next four years. (And fair play to them.)

Around 25 people, partners and directors, are set to benefit. Grant tells me the proceeds will be pretty widely spread, but let’s assume he makes enough in four-years time to move on entirely if he wants (he is 59).

The Tulchan brand name goes, which seems a shame.

What does it mean?

I think the deal is the latest to signify the end of the founder led PR firm with little capital but one mercurial, well-connected boss.

Something similar happened in investment banking a while ago – small banks might find niches, indeed some have.

So, there is nothing to say smaller PR firms can’t flourish and new ones will surely emerge.

But the PR names on sizeable transactions are always the main players – Finsbury, FTI and Brunswick, plus a few others.

What’s notable is that those three built their market share 20 years ago, and have mostly clung on to it.

The relationships built with clients are long-term and rely on more than one executive. Sir Alan Parker, Roland Rudd and Andrew Grant might be excellent at their jobs, but they are less vital to the success of their firms than they were, perhaps.

(All three have been at it for 25 years at least – if they want a rest, who can blame them.)

Now that they have built up their businesses, they can hire the best people and charge the highest fees.

For flaks who want to work on the big M&A deals, well, it’s clear where they should go.

Grant characterises the sale as like sending children off to university. You don’t want them to leave, but you know it is for the best.

What happens in four years? If it goes well for Teneo, they find new handcuffs for the Tulchan folk they want to keep in all likelihood.

For big clients, PR is an international game these days. That seems unlikely to change.

Press release of the day

Some ambitious research here from which looks at which areas will have the highest disposable incomes by 2030.

It does this by looking at historical ONS data and extrapolating.

Kensington and Chelsea are expected to stay at the top, which is not surprising and sort of depressing.

But places like Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle and Middlesborough should enjoy the biggest growth.

That’s great, if it turns out to be right.

Stories that will keep rolling

1) How did Sainsbury’s fare over Christmas? Did the strikes impact sales?

2) Are JD Sports missing Peter Cowgill or not?

3) Why can’t we do rockets?

4) Where is PageGroup seeing staff shortages?


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