CSC: No comment is the safest

September 29, 2009

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.

(Photo: CSC.com)

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.

3 comments

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CSC is a very old and stodgy company where the good ole boy regime is in full adornment. Company provided cars to the sr execs with weekly gas fill-ups weekly wash and wax, meals delvered to their desks daily so they are not forced to rub elbow with the workforce in the cafeteria. Very strong/arrogant influence from the UK. Last year made the decision to relocated the corporate office from Calif to Virginia and a very flawed business case developed by and recently promoted lackey within the administration organization.

Posted by Kram | Report as abusive

At least mergers and acquisitions like Xerox have helped our stock market, maybe another one wouldn’t be so bad no matter who the company is: http://www.newsy.com/videos/american_sto cks_bucking_the_trend

Posted by ceckel | Report as abusive

I’m a current employee of CSC and find the company less paternalistic than EDS/HP and a lot more concerned about the wellbeing of its employees than most of the companies I have worked for in the past 35 years.
Sure, the execs in the head office breathe a kind of rareified atmosphere, but what large, mature company doesn’t constantly battle that problem?
What I really like is the way that CSC constantly tries to reinvent itself, to keep itself relevant to customers and competitive with other industry members.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive