Bolloré Increases Aegis Pressure

28 November 2005

Havas chairman Vincent Bolloré has wasted little time in his pursuit of UK media group Aegis following WPP's withdrawal from the race on Friday.

Bolloré has increased his stake in Aegis to 25.05% and has been given the green light to make an offer for the company by the UK Takeover Panel. Under the rules, once his stake reaches 30%, he must offer at least 143.75p ($2.46; €2.1) a share in cash for the firm. This is the top price he has paid so far for Aegis shares.

But Bolloré is keeping his cards close to his chest and may simply build his holding to just under 30% and demand seats on the board.

Comments analyst Leigh Webb, from Panmure Gordon: "No one knows what's going to happen, apart from Bolloré. I suspect he'll go to 29.9% and try to exert control over the Aegis board."

Many industry observers believe Bolloré's ultimate goal is to synergistically combine the Paris-headquartered agency group's creative capabilities with Aegis' media-buying assets to compete on a larger scale in the global marketing communications business.

Sir Martin Sorrell's London headquartered WPP, meanwhile, has reserved the right to re-enter the fray if a third party makes a bid for Aegis. Under the takeover rules, however, WPP cannot now make a formal approach for six months.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff