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Should PR Firms Be On The Stock Market?

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Should PR firms be on the stock market?

At the weekend The Sunday Telegraph did a big number on Why the City kings of spin want to take their PR firms to the market.

That the PR trade got so much space already says something about the growth of the industry.

External capital – serious institutional money – wants in to the PR trade.

If you’re a partner, a founder, or have plans to become either, that’s mostly good.

The complication must be that the institutional money will also want a way out. When it does, it could sell to another institution, or it could float.

Certainly, for staff to get the payouts they have been promised, the firms probably have to join the stock market.

That feels problematic to me. PR firms are supposed not to exist, to be forever in the background.

If they are suddenly issuing their own RNS’s, their own press releases admitting to profit warnings, that rather undermines their appeal to clients, no?

Does a floated PR company revealing an FCA investigation into the chairman hire another PR firm to handle that, or do it itself? Neither option seems satisfactory.

The deals we have already seen include Brunswick selling a minority stake to BDT Capital.

What hacks think of as Finsbury is now FGS Global following a merger with Sard Verbinnen.

The Telegraph reports that founder Roland Rudd is pondering a stock market listing in the next 18 months.

It also reckons Tulchan might do the same – that seems unlikely to be part of its plan, however.

One source told the paper: “The industry has evolved a lot. It basically just used to be about dealing with the FT on results day, but now FTSE companies want one place where they can access a variety of services.”

So multi-nationals want a one-stop shop, where the CEO can get legal, consultancy and PR advice all in one place.

In some ways that makes sense. It might be cheaper and more co-ordinated.

On the other hand, the lawyer and the flak who work for the same company are going to agree with each other, and the CEO may not want that, may be willing to pay more for an argument.

What seems clear is that the firms offering the best PR advice will have communications at their core, not as an add-on.

Press release of the day

With most of us counting the pennies, loyalty cards should be coming into their own.

This from Swapi says one problem is that consumers think many cards aren’t transparent.

Pete Howroyd, Founder & CEO of Swapi, said: “Having worked within the retail loyalty space for a considerable amount of time, I know just how frustrating it can be for loyal customers to lose out on hard-earnt rewards, discounts and more through the currently offered schemes.”

Stories that will keep rolling

1) Do Biffa’s results justify the 445p a share offer from private equity

2) When are airports and airlines going to Sort This Out?

3) Where is consumer confidence worse, Germany or America?

4) What is Rishi’s standing in the City lately?


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