Financial communications and public affairs consultancy with international M&A capabilities
Founded 20 years ago in the U.S. by a veteran of the corporate and financial public relations practice at Hill & Knowlton, Gavin Anderson & Company was built on an idea ahead of its time: that CEOs were focused on three critical areas of communications—investor relations, public policy, and corporate reputation (including crisis communications)—and that they would one day need solutions to all three on a global rather than a local business. So as many of its competitors strive to develop international networks to handle the increasing volume of cross-border mergers and acquisitions business, Gavin Anderson already has a network firmly established—in major European centres, the U.S., and Asia-Pacific, with seasoned veterans in every market.
The U.K. business, about 33 people strong, has capabilities in financial communications (including financial calendar work for both U.K. and overseas businesses and a pioneering shareholder identification system), a growing corporate practice (characterized by the belief that corporate reputation—even CSR—and financial performance are increasingly intertwined), and manages a steady flow of IPO, M&A and privatization projects. Public affairs—a strength in Washington, D.C.—is under development in London, and helped contribute to healthy growth in 2004, after a retrenchment during the three difficult preceding years.
The firm also has about 10 people each in France (where it works in partnership with its Omnicom sister agency DDB, and has considerable experience in the privatization sector), in Germany (where the firm has been a major player in the IPO market), and Spain in Spain, and a team of five in Brussels, which is growing and will complement the Washington business. The major addition of the past 12 months was Citigate veteran Fergus Wylie, who joined as CEO in London, filling the gap left by the departure of Neil Bennett to rival Maitland.
Since the appointment of Richard Constant as global CEO in 2000, there has been a greater degree of cooperation, enabling the firm to take on more multinational projects, and because Gavin Anderson offices are headed by locals, rather than transplants from the U.K. or the U.S., all European offices are capable of generating pan-European business. Overall, the corporate business has been steady over the past 12 months, the financial transaction business has been showing signs of life after a slow couple of years, and the public affairs and regulatory business is growing at a healthy pace, with an increase in pan-European work in all three categories.
On the mergers and acquisitions front, Gavin Anderson was ranked among the top 15 in Europe during the first half of 2005 by mergermarket (in terms of deal volume), just outside the top 10 in the U.K. The firm also won the brief to help Mosaic Fashions become the first overseas company to list on the Icelandic Stock Exchange, helped online gambling investor Gaming VC communicate with the financial community; and worked with steel foundry equipment maker Foseco as it prepares for its float. Ongoing clients include Air France, American Express, the Chicago Board of Trade, Morgan Stanley and Volkswagen in the U.K.; Abbey National, Euronext, Nasdaq, and Renault in France; Bank of America, Dresdner Bank, and JP Morgan in Germany; ABB, the European Food Information Council and McDonald’s in Brussels; and ACE, Fortis Bank and Toyota in Spain.