When it comes to high-stakes corporate communications counsel, there’s the establishment—a handful of white-shoe firms that tend to dominate the M&A rankings—and then there’s Sloane & Company, a challenger brand that’s a little brasher and a little bolder.

Over the past two and a half decades, Elliot Sloane has made a virtue out of a necessity by representing underdogs, and occasionally big dogs who want their bite to match their bark, building an $11 million business with a team of about 20 and a reputation in broader corporate and financial communications, crisis and issues management, and public affairs rather than focusing on high-profile transactions.

That’s not to say Sloane can’t handle major deals—it has become a leader in the activist investor space, often supporting hedge funds and others in campaigns targeting Hess, EMC, Compuware, Juniper Networks, and others.

Other highlights last year included representing bond investors during the bankruptcy of Detroit, supporting New York Life’s investment management business and its acquisitions; handling regulatory issues for the likes of Exelon; supporting Tribune Media as it emerged from bankruptcy and began trading as a new public company; providing PR expertise to Michael Steinberg during the ongoing litigation around his insider trading case. Clients include athenahealth, Cablevision, Charles Schwab, Exelon, Liberty Media, Starz, Walgreens, and Viacom, with new business—fueling double-digit growth in 2014—from Elliott Management, charter school company Success Academy, Altisource, and Sandell Capital Management.

And while several firms in this space run the risk of being labeled one-man bands, Sloane has invested in the next generation, with a leadership team that includes managing directors Darren Brandt (a media and investor relations who previously worked at Morgen-Walke); Whit Clay (formerly with Edelman Financial); Boston-based John Hartz; Joshua Hochberg (formerly founding partner of Vistance Group); and Dan Zacchei (formerly of Ruder Finn).—PH

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