CSC: No comment is the safest
I was rather surprised yesterday to see an e-mail from Ogilvy PR pitching an interview with Dave Booth, the Chairman President of Global Sales and Marketing at Computer Sciences Corp, only a couple of hours after Xerox announced its $6.4 billion planned purchase of Affiliated Computer Services.
After all, CSC — an IT services company that competes with ACS, and has a market value of $8.1 billion — was the first company that came to bankers’ and analysts’ minds when I asked them who else could be in play, as tech companies look to buy into new growth opportunities.
Given how market sentiment works, any comments from the chief senior executive of a potential acquisition target like CSC could easily move the stock. As a rule, that’s why, companies typically don’t comment on rumor or speculation about themselves. So naturally, an on-the-record interview with the CSC chairman executive wasn’t something I could pass up.
The e-mail offered:
…(T)he opportunity to hear comments from Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC). As you might know, CSC is a marketplace contrarian that can offer a POV on the other side of the coin – staying independent.
CSC anticipates greater interest from those clients that value the objectivity of a technology-independent approach. With one less independent firm in the marketplace, CSC’s position is strengthened as a global, technology-independent option for clients.
I let Ogilvy know of my interest, and waited, and followed up, and waited. By the late afternoon, I figured the pitch was too good to be true because CSC had thought the better of it. Sure enough, the e-mail that eventually turned up in my inbox, said: “CSC now prefers not to comment.”
Wonder if that was a PR learning experience.
Update: A CSC spokesman called on Tuesday to say Dave Booth is not chairman, but president of global sales and marketing at CSC. I have updated this post to include the correct title.