Bolloré Moves Again on Aegis: Fifth Time Lucky?

11 April 2008

LONDON: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again," is an adage writ large on Vincent Bolloré's sanguine psyche – as the board of Aegis Group (and Havas in its previous incarnation) knows to its cost.

The financier, Havas chairman and controlling shareholder, currently holds a 29% stake in the UK-headquartered media and research group. On Thursday he issued his fifth demand for representation on Aegis's board.

Bolloré seeks two seats – a request denied on four earlier occasions by a majority of Aegis shareholders. Following his last attempt, Aegis made much of the fact that "over 90% of non-Bolloré shareholders voting on the matter" had nixed the Frenchman's demand.

But it could be different this time around.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Bolloré pointed out that, based on the 74% turnout at the last annual meeting, the support of just 7% of the shareholder base, allied to his own holding, would secure a victory.

And he did not deny the patently obvious: that he is not averse to acquiring Aegis, valued at £1.5 billion ($2.96bn; €1,88bn), and melding it with Havas.

"We have a good financial situation and it's right that we are interested in making acquisitions and to profit from some of the opportunities around," he told the FT.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff