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Yesterday, the £7 billion buyout saga of Morrisons finally came to a close. The shares were delisted from the stock market – it is owned by private equity house CDR now.

Scanning the bid documents (no, don’t get out much) I am drawn to the table on fees for bankers and the rest.

You can read for yourself here, page 84.

To land its prize, Bidco, that’s CDR, dished out £349 million. An amount that seems a) astonishing b) par for the course. The bankers trousered most of that with £249 million, thanks very much.

The expenses occurred by Morrisons run to £57 million, of which the bankers get £48 million.

The interesting figures are the PR costs. CDR paid £3.5 million for PR advice, mostly to Teneo, I think.

And Morrisons? £100,000. For those of us who like percentages, that’s, (erm) a difference of 3400%.

So plainly, Morrisons barely used an outside agency.

It trusted itself to handle the matter – the most important in its history – internally, at least from a PR point of view.

Perhaps this is an affront to the big agencies. Other CEOs might note that Morrisons managed just fine without them and act accordingly.

I’m inclined to think this was a one-off, and that the safety-first CEO will still decide that it is better to bung £3 million in Brunswick’s direction rather than face questions later as to why he did not do so.

The other unavoidable conclusion is that fees to PR firms on deals remain but a pimple on a larger boil.

The bankers are where it is at, money wise, and the lawyers do very well too.

PR has some catching up to do.

Press release of the day

What’s the greenest City in the UK? Sheffield top, says this from NatWest, with Edinburgh and Cardiff second.

They reckon this is the most comprehensive study of its type, part of the bank’s climate change strategy. The University of Southampton helped.

There will be much more of this stuff, I’m sure.


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