A marriage made in PR Heaven

CITY DIARY
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Nigel Cope CITY DIARY

Touching that the nuptials of two of the Square Mile's financial PR companies should leak on Valentine's Day. In a meeting of minds and gin and tonics, Glenda Boswell's Boswell Associates is to merge with City Financial PR, run by the redoubtable Trevor Bass.

Though the knot has not yet been officially tied, the merger should become effective at the end of March when the name will be changed to Boswell City Financial.

True, the merger hardly creates a spin-doctoring conglomerate but Ms Boswell was almost in tearful mood about it yesterday: "We're old mates. We've known each other for donkey's years," she trilled, recalling how they met at the Daily Express he was City editor and she a temp.

Cruel observers are saying that the merger is due to lack of clients but Ms Bowell says it is because her company was due to move into larger offices and that Mr Bass could usefully fill the space. "My lease was coming up," he says.

Mr Bass, whose best known client was Blue Arrow but we'll gloss over that, was celebrating the merger in true PR style yesterday. He went out for a round of golf.

In the aftermath of the Docklands bomb, it is interesting to note the security services' advice on evasive action in such circumstances. A female colleague, whose mother was in M16, says that guidelines to women during bomb blasts run as follows: throw yourself under the table and put your skirt over your head.

Forte may have lost its battle against Granada but according to observers at the British Travel Show, which started in London yesterday, the company has disappeared altogether. Forte had booked a large, prominent stand at the show but pulled out at the last minute. Granada failed to take the stand in its place and so the area had to be let to someome else. Gossips at the show were saying that morale at the hotel group is at an all-time low.

Robert Badinter, the French lawyer who has been drafted in as an independent arbitrator at crisis-hit Eurotunnel, clearly has his work cut out. And if his recent literary career is any guide, it will all end in tears. Mr Badinter recently wrote a play based on the story of Oscar Wilde's trial for indecency and imprisonment, which was staged in Paris late last year. Sadly C33, as it was called, was not kindly reviewed.

Critics were bewildered by its legal technicalities and one described it as "an honourable failure". Many fear the same may ultimately be said about his Eurotunnel tenure.

They clearly don't get much excitement in the airline industry, if a silly spat between Boeing and Airbus is anything to go by. Thet two manufacturers are getting their wings in a frightful spin over a whose planes go faster. Incredibly the spat could end in the courts.

Boeing is threatening to sue Airbus Industrie unless it stops stating that its A340 model cruises at a faster speed than either the Boeing 747 or 777.

Boeing's chairman Frank Shrontz is apopletic: "A solicitor's letter will follow if they don't stop," he splutters.

Staff at City University in London were caught short yesterday when they called a meeting on revised security procedures following the Docklands blast. It was interrupted by a bomb scare.

Flying Flowers, the airborne florist, pulled its usual PR stunt yesterday when it issued its annual results on Valentine's Day. But the chairman, Walter Goldsmith, exploded one myth when he said that 80 per cent of its customers are women. Women, he said - unlike the gentlemen pictured left - think ahead about the niceties of sending flowers by jet- propelled delivery. So while Mother's Day, Father's Day and get-well floral gifts are sent by women, most men just don't bother.

Which is why the company has set up Bellbourne, a subsidiary which supplies blooms to garage forecourts and other suppliers to the forgetful and desperate: 80 per cent of its customers are men.

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