LONDON, July 5—No disrespect to some of our entrepreneurial readers on this side of the Atlantic, but why is it that the people who own public relations firms in the U.K. appear so much more interesting. In the U.S., PR people are for the most part simply PR people, but in the U.K. they are Lords and Princess and pop stars.
The exploits of Lord Chadlington (the former Peter Gummer, founder of Shandwick) and Lord Bell (head of Chime, the U.K.’s second largest PR agency) have been well documented in these pages, and while we have studiously resisted commentary, few U.S. practitioners can have missed the media’s coverage of the PR firm run by the Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal, which made headlines for offering to procure prostitutes for a journalist posing as an Arab sheik.
But who knew that Bob Geldof, former lead singer for the Boomtown Rats and organizing force behind the Live Aid concerts of the mid 80s, was also in the PR business? Not us, until this week’s 4th of July-related dearth of domestic news forced us to scan the headlines in the British press more closely, turning up the fact that Geldof’s Ten Alps holding company had acquired advertising and public relations agency Osprey Communications.
The deal was structured as a reverse takeover, which means that Geldof’s company will be listed on the U.K.’s AIM market and will soon be on the London Stock Exchange, even though the deal creates a company with revenues of just £9m.
“This is not a mega-deal,” the pop impresario conceded, “but it is a great one for us and Osprey.”
Osprey’s core business is RMA, an advertising and public relations business headquartered in Hampshire. Ten Alps had previously focused on television and radio production.