Bolloré Aims To Wear Down Aegis Resistance

25 June 2007

CANNES: Havas chairman Vincent Bolloré is still seeking seats on the board of Aegis to complement his 29% stake in the media buying and market research group.

Despite constant rebuffs from other shareholders, Bolloré (pictured)says he will make a fifth attempt in September - and later a sixth and seventh - to gain two seats at yet another extraordinary meeting.

His four attempts so far have led to increasingly emphatic rejection [WARC News: 29-May-07] of his nominees, Roger Hatchuel and Philippe Germond, but the head of the Bolloré Groupe conglomerate is undaunted and says he will carry on until shareholders at UK-headquartered Aegis finally surrender.

Speaking at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, he insisted that "everybody in the sector knows that, industrially speaking, it is clear that Havas and Aegis should work together".

Aegis, which owns MR network Synovate and media buyer Carat among others, offers a slightly different perspective.

Says ceo Mainardo de Nardis: "We work well with Mr Bolloré. If he is happy with our work, he doesn't need to be represented on the board, otherwise that would create a conflict of interests."

Bolloré emphasised the importance of MR to his business, stressing it "will be very relevant for the future. Through Havas, we have some capability in that. But we have to complete the puzzle and it is important to have a research network throughout the world."

In addition, he told Cannes journalists that he would not get caught up in a race to buy digital advertising businesses like rivals WPP Group and Publicis Groupe: "I only say that when you have a rush, a race, we have time and it can be more clever sometimes to wait for an opportunity."

Data sourced from Financial Times Online and from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff