Barclays revealed as the most written-about business of 2019

Barclays has been named as the most written-about business over the past year, following a year which saw the banking giant face opposition from an activist investor and high profile court cases.

The FTSE 100 company narrowly beat supermarket Sainsbury’s in the first ever Noise Index of business coverage by Briefcase.news.

It said that Barclays topped the list after it analysed 12 months of articles from Fleet Street’s major media organisations.

Barclays was written about 884 times during the year, as it was in the spotlight due to the presence of an activist on its board, issues of remuneration, and ongoing court cases relating to former employees.

Sainsbury’s was written about on 840 occasions across the business pages as its failed attempt to merge with rival Asda brought it significant attention.

The competition watchdog blocked the deal in April, a year after it was first agreed between the two retailers.

Elsewhere, M&S was just one of two businesses outside of the FTSE 100 to make the top 10, alongside Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct International, which has since rebranded as Frasers Group.

Alastair Cotton, chief executive officer at Briefcase.news, said: “We are delighted to announce the results of our first ever ‘noise index’, which saw Barclays narrowly edge past Sainsbury’s to be the most written about business of 2019.

“In a year of transition for both businesses, our survey serves to demonstrate that upheaval and events outside of the usual financial calendar are what continue to drive column inches.

“In an era of ‘fake news’, impartial and informed content has never been so important. As our survey shows, the volume of coverage produced by established media outlets in 2019 demonstrates that Fleet Street remains in rude health in its role of holding UK PLC to account.

“Companies that genuinely embrace the ESG and climate agenda should continue to receive widespread positive coverage, with airlines in focus to follow EasyJet’s example and prove they can reduce their footprint.”

The 10 most written-about FTSE 350 businesses in 2019 were:

1. Barclays (884 articles)
2. J Sainsbury (840)
3. HSBC Holdings (728)
4. Sports Direct International (699)
5. Tesco (679)
6. Marks and Spencer (677)
7. Royal Bank of Scotland Group (647)
8. Lloyds Banking Group (593)
9. International Consolidated Airlines Group (574)
10. Royal Dutch Shell (560)

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