Kekst CNC

Kekst CNC

Background

Kekst CNC is a public relations firm owned by PublicisGroupe, a French advertising and public relations conglomerate.1(Press Release). “Kekst and CNC Join Forces to Create Premier Global Strategic Communications Consultancy,” Cision PR Newswire, October 9, 2018. Archived April 30, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.is/fQ5jH In 2018, PublicisGroupe subsidiaries Kekst and CNC (Communications and Network Consulting), a Munich-based public relations firm, merged.2CNC Communications and Network Consulting Overview,” Pitchbook. Archived March 2, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/GHj0t Kekst CNC has 14 locations with offices in New York, Munich, Berlin, Frankfurt, London, Tokyo, Brussels, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Seoul, and Stockholm. In Stockholm, Kekst CNC operates under the name JKL.

In 2021, Kekst CNC joined the European Public Affairs Consultancies Association, which aims to increase “positive engagement and ethical lobbying,” according to the association.3PRESS RELEASE: EPACA welcomes Kekst CNC as new member,” European Public Affairs Consultancies Association, December 8, 2021. Archived December 14, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/yzJYd

Stance on Climate Change

In 2021, Publicis Groupe, which owns Kekst CNC, committed to achieving net-zero emissions for all its subsidiaries before 2030. Publicis Groupe pledged to “reduce the carbon emissions of the work we are doing for our clients, in all activities.”4Publicis Groupe Environmental Policy & Guidance,” Publicis Group. Archived May 17, 2021. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

From October 19 to November 28, 2022, Kekst CNC surveyed 12,000 people across Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Ukraine, South Africa, the United States, and UK for the 2023 Munich Security Index. Kekst CNC found that the people surveyed felt climate change was the second greatest threat to global security, followed by destruction of natural habitats in third, and extreme weather and forest fires in fourth place.5Munich Security Index, 2023,” Munich Security Conference. Archived March 7, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/Dc0v5

In the 2022 Munich Security Index conducted by Kekst CNC, respondents felt climate change was the greatest threat to global security.6Munich Security Index, 2022.” Munich Security Conference. Archived February 14, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.is/G291p The Russian invasion of Ukraine and Kekst’s subsequent decision to interview people in Ukraine instead of Russia for the 2023 Munich Security Index complicated the results of the 2023 survey.

Funding

Clients

Actions

February 2023 – Adani Group Hires Kekst CNC7Kekst CNC Goes to Work for Besieged Adani Group,” O’Dwyers PR, February 13, 2023. Archived February 13, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/L73I0

In February 2023, it was reported that Kekst CNC had been hired as a crisis PR firm for the Adani Group, an Indian multinational conglomerate that has lost $135 billion of its market value since January 2023.8Chris Kay and Preeti Singh. “After $135-billion wipeout, Adani Group plans multi-pronged comeback,” Bloomberg, February 20, 2023. Archived February 20, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/ifEL5 The collapse of Adani’s market value came after Hindenburg Research published a report accusing Adani of “brazen stock manipulation and fraud accounting scheme over the course of decades.”9Adani Group: How The World’s 3rd Richest Man Is Pulling The Largest Con In Corporate History,” Hindenburg Research, January 24, 2023. Archived February 1, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/pTfYk Adani denied these allegations.10Chris Kay and Preeti Singh. “After $135-billion wipeout, Adani Group plans multi-pronged comeback,” Bloomberg, February 20, 2023. Archived February 20, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/ifEL5 Hindenburg Research disclosed a short position in Adani, which meant Hindenburg would profit if Adani’s stock price decreased.

The Adani Group is enormously powerful in India; it makes a fifth of India’s cement and operates a fifth of India’s power transmission’s lines.11The humbling of Gautam Adani is a test for Indian capitalism,” The Economist, February 9, 2023. Archived February 13, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/7hwu5 Adani Group is also India’s largest private coal company, and in January 2023, the CFO of Adani Enterprises said that its coal business will continue for decades.12Kalpana Pathak. “Coal part of India’s base load energy: Adani Group,” The Economic Times, India, Jan 19, 2023. Archived Jan 19, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/WOaN1

Bloomberg News reported that a person familiar with Kekst CNC’s work for Adani said it was charged with restoring investor trust in Adani.13Chris Kay and Preeti Singh. “After $135-billion wipeout, Adani Group plans multi-pronged comeback,” Bloomberg, February 20, 2023. Archived February 20, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/ifEL5 As of March 2023, Kekst CNC was working with Adani’s executive and communication teams to create a “situation room” to respond to the cascading crises.14Chris Kay and Preeti Singh. “After $135-billion wipeout, Adani Group plans multi-pronged comeback,” Bloomberg, February 20, 2023. Archived February 20, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/ifEL5

2015

In September 2015, Volkswagen hired Kekst and Edelman to revive its reputation in the United States after it was revealed that Volkswagen had distorted emissions test results of its vehicles in order to pass U.S. emissions standards.15The Climate Smokescreen: PR Companies Lobbying for Big Polluters in Europe” (PDF), Corporate Europe Observatory, December 2015. Archived December 14, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. More than 11 million Volkswagen vehicles had a “defeat device” installed to manipulate emissions testing software.16Arun Sudhaman. “Beleaguered Volkswagen Calls On Hering Schuppener To Lead Global Crisis PR,” PRovoke Media, September 29, 2015. Archived October 31, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/cZFVd From September to November 2015, Volkswagen’s response to the crisis drew criticism from the public and regulators.17 Russell Hotten. “Volkswagen: The scandal explained,” BBC News, December 10, 2015. Archived February 1, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.is/6ziz3 Volkswagen initially denied in November 2015 that some of its luxury models were outfitted with the “defeat device” software, only to admit a few weeks later that they actually were.18Statement from CARB on defeat devices on 3-liter VW, Audi diesel engines,” California Air Resources Board, November 20, 2015. Archived July 30, 2019. Archive URL: https://archive.is/HN8Bj

2007

Kekst & Co. somewhat unusually worked for clients on both sides of the $45 billion buyout of Texas utility company TXU by private equity firms Kolberg Kravis & Roberts and Texas Pacific. 19KKR Private Equity Investors Commits $500 Million to Acquisition of TXU Corp,” KKR Private Equity Investors, March 1 2007.  Archived March 3, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/PiqR8

The deal was also unusual in that it brought the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and TXU to the negotiating table in February 2007. While Kekst & Co. was working for TXU and its longtime client KKR, “TXU’s outreach to well-known environmental groups before the deal succeeded in winning preemptive support from groups that could have emerged as vocal opponents,” according to PR Week.20Hamilton Nolan.“TXU deal uses double-sided PR,” PR Week, February 28, 2007. Archived March 10, 2007. Archive URL: https://archive.is/YHIPp

For several months prior to February 2007, EDF, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Rainforest Action Network, and CERES had been campaigning against TXU’s $10 billion plan to build 11 new coal-fired power plants.21Marc Gunther. “Texas’s big global warming battle,” Fortune, CNN Money, November 9, 2006. Archived January 10, 2007. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/ANrTM EDF and its allies urged TXU to pursue renewable energy instead of building coal-fired power plants, which would more than double TXU’s emissions.22Marc Gunther. “Texas’s big global warming battle,” Fortune, CNN Money, November 9, 2006. Archived January 10, 2007. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/ANrTM A natural gas coalition called the Texas Clean Sky Coalition, which was organized by Chesapeake Energy, also advertised against TXU’s plan to build coal plants.23John J. Fialka. “Coalition Ends Ad Campaign Bashing Coal,” The Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2007. Archived August 30, 2019. Archive URL: https://archive.is/Fj0pf

The president of EDF received a phone call from William K. Reilly, the former EPA administrator under President George H. W. Bush.24Andrew Ross Sorkin. “A Buyout Deal That Has Many Shades of Green,” The New York Times, February 26, 2007. Archived March 7, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/qJkr Reilly, who was employed by Texas Pacific, proposed a cease-fire between the environmental groups and TXU in exchange for TXU scaling back its plan to build new coal plants.25Andrew Ross Sorkin. “A Buyout Deal That Has Many Shades of Green,” The New York Times, February 26, 2007. Archived March 7, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/qJkr EDF and the Natural Resources Defense Council endorsed TXU’s acquisition by KKR and Texas Pacific while TXU agreed to scale down its planned coal plant expansion from 11 plants to 3, support cap-and-trade legislation, buy more wind power, and create a Sustainable Energy Advisory Board.26Jim Marston. “TXU Buyout tied to Environmental Agreement,” Environmental Defense Fund Climate 411 Blog, February 27, 2007.  Archived October 30, 2008. Archive URL: https://archive.is/Qy9L6 The PR firm Public Strategies, Inc (WPP)27Public Strategies Inc,” WPP. Archived August 11, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/pDCF2 worked for both sides of the deal as well, and Owen Blicksilver PR (now Lambert Edwards)28Sean Czarnecki. “Lambert, Edwards and Associates acquires Owen Blicksilver PR,” PR Week. Archived April 19, 2018. also worked with Texas Pacific.29Hamilton Nolan. “TXU deal uses double-sided PR,” PR Week, February 28, 2007. Archived March 10, 2007. Archive URL: https://archive.is/YHIPp 

PublicisGroupe

Contact & Address

U.S. Headquarters: 
437 Madison Avenue
New York, NY, 10022.

Phone: (212) 521-4800

Social Media

Other Resources

Resources

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