When it comes to big-time crisis, there are few PR firms as well plugged in as New York City based Sard Verbinnen & Co. Today’s headlines have the company managing crisis public relations for Twitter surrounding the resignation of their CEO, Dick Costolo. Sard Verbinnen CEO George Sard is reportedly personally managing the account.
It is far from their first high-profile assignment. They are the mouth-piece for hedge-fund billionaire Steven A. Cohen – even dealing with gossip columns like the NY Post’s Page 6. This week, Jonathan Gasthalter, an executive for Sard Verbinnen was mentioned in a story about Cohen’s pet pig.
A 2013 Bloomberg profile noted that the firm handled big-league Wall Street bankers who’d been convicted of fraud – and had Goldman Sachs footing the bill for their spinning in the court, and in the media. Business Insider noted at the time, “..the case is a prime example of Sard Verbinnen’s ability to influence a major news event without leaving fingerprints. It’s a firm that seeks to be in every financial reporter’s in-box, and sourced in none of their stories.”
The firm was lauded in a 1997 profile in The New York Times, which mentioned a wide range of clients, including Kirk Kerkorian, Banc One, Michael Orvitz and others.
This is a very high-profile crisis PR firm – as can be witnessed from some of their current client activity, including:
- Molycorp is the largest U.S. producer of rare-earths — a group of 17 obscure elements used in technology from smartphones to missiles and military aircraft. They filed bankruptcy earlier in 2015. They’ve been approached about selling international assets, but that would reduce Molycorp’s rare-earths market share. Any deals need to be approved by Oaktree Capital Group LLC, Molycorp’s rescue lender extending a $400 million loan last year. Carissa Felger is Oaktree’s spokeswoman at SVC.
- Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board sued Boaz Weinstein’s Saba Capital Management LP in late September 2015. The Pension claims Saba “artificially manipulated” the value of their holdings by devaluing much of the fund’s portfolio while selling assets to pay back the Pension’s investment. After payment was completed, Saba returned to previous valuation protocols the next month. Jonathan Gasthalter is Saba’s spokesman at SVC.
- Greenlight Capital’s main hedge fund sent emails to their investors in August when volatility in the market dropped value by 5.3% during the month. If they can’t rebound by the end of the year, it will be two years in a row the hedge fund has lost for their investors. Jonathan Gasthalter is Greenlight’s spokesman at SVC.
- When crude oil prices began falling earlier in 2015, many nonbank creditors invested heavily believing the price would bounce. But that didn’t happen. Instead, it continued to drop. So now many of the energy companies are filing for bankruptcy or on the verge of doing so. One of the investing behemoths is Oaktree Capital Group LLC. Carissa Felger is Oaktree’s spokeswoman at SVC.
- The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company in New Jersey is the parent company of the Waldbaum’s supermarket in Westhampton Beach. Great Atlantic is in the process of bankruptcy and has a deal in place for the sale of many of their holdings. However Waldbaum’s is not on that list. The store was scheduled to close on September 11 but remains open without any clear direction from Great Atlantic. Brandon Messina is Great Atlantic’s spokesman at SVC.
These are some big-league crisis clients – and Sard Verbinnen & Co represents many more. Sard Verbinnen is one of the leading crisis PR firms in the world.
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