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One clever story, and a takeover bid turns

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Until this morning I’d have said Melrose was slapping GKN all over the shop in its £7.6 billion takeover bid.

Melrose seemed better organised, GKN defensive, reactive and without much of a story to sell. Other hacks agreed.

Today’s FT reports GKN’s biggest customer, Airbus, saying it would be “practically impossible” to give work to the company if Melrose wins the bid.

This is several things. 1) A cracking story. 2) A potential game-changer for the bid. 3) A piece of flaking genius, assuming PRs were involved somewhere along the line (I strongly suspect they were).

Melrose says it hasn’t yet spoken to Airbus out of politeness, and that it will do so soon. It might win them round, but for the first time it looks seriously on the back foot.

I’d say in the 20-odd years I’ve been doing this stuff, PRs have never had such influence, such ability to frame events and change outcomes.

This is irritating, but it is true.

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