Piers Pottinger can remember what it felt like to be on top of the world. It was an autumn morning in 1988 and he had just arrived at the offices of his new public relations business Bell Pottinger, to be greeted by his excited business partner, Tim Bell. "Tim just said get your stuff, we are off to New York on Concorde," Pottinger recalls. "All he told me was that we were going to see Henry Kravis and that there was a bit of a deal coming up." Within a few hours the pair were in Manhattan to discuss advising Kravis’s investment bank KKR on its $25bn hostile buyout of RJR Nabisco, the US conglomerate. That evening, on the return flight, they toasted a new client that would give them a ringside seat to an era-defining takeover, immortalised in the book Barbarians at the Gate. It was the start of an extraordinary run for a company that became one of the most influential names in the rapidly growing financial PR business. After rising to fame as Margaret Thatcher’s favourite adman, Bel...

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