As Beijing-based Chinese energy company CNOOC Limited planned a $15-billion acquisition of Canada’s Nexen Inc., it asked H+K Canada to lead a multilingual, multi-stakeholder endeavor with our top GR and PR strategists from three countries. During the acquisition, CNOOC Limited knew it would ignite debate on complex issues such as economic nationalism and foreign direct investment, and our team immediately conducted a political risk assessment that yielded an integrated, strategic communications effort in North America and China.

We handled scenario planning, extensive research, strategy and execution. We led executive tours with key government and business stakeholders; created a stakeholder engagement program to deliver key messages and correct misinformation; undertook strategic media relations; acted as CNOOC Limited’s spokesperson and media representative; and liaised with its counterparts at Nexen. We provided ongoing, around-the-clock influencer and media intelligence.

The Nexen acquisition was a process that generated thousands of stories across major media organizations globally, including the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Times and the BBC, and made the front pages of Canada’s Globe and Mail and Financial Post for months on end. The result? The largest-ever successful Chinese outbound investment. The largest Canadian M+A transaction in 2012. Foreign investment approval from the Government of Canada. The support of provincial governments. And CIFIUS approval in the U.S. Deal closed.

The Holmes Report presented us with an excellence award in the Chemicals and Industrials category at the 2014 SABRE Awards ceremony for our work on this project. We were the only Canadian-led program to win at the awards.