EAST RUTHERFORD, November 9—With the economy showing little sign of rebounding, several public relations firms are forming new groups focused on restructurings and bankruptcy PR, but at The MWW Group, the bankruptcy practice is well established. The firm has handled more than 20 Chapter 11 filings over the past two or three years, according to president Michael Kempner, including Zany Brainy earlier this year and more recently Bethlehem Steel.
The nation’s second largest steelmaker filed for Chapter 11 protection in mid-October, saying it “could not overcome the injury caused by record levels of unfairly traded steel imports and the slowing economy” despite $300 million in cost reductions over the past three years. The company said the events of September 11 had led to further weakening in the demand for consumer products that rely on steel, worsening the near-term outlook for a recovery.
MWW was brought on board to at a time when several options for a restructuring were under consideration, and handled communications with multiple audiences.
“We had to communicate the filing to employees, to retirees, to government and community leaders, to the media and the financial communications, to supplier and to joint venture partners,” says Kempner, who says the account team was led by himself and MWW senior vice president Carreen Winters.