Bolloré Takes A Breather in Aegis Race

20 June 2008

CANNES: Havas chairman Vincent Bolloré (pictured) has called a temporary ceasefire in his battle to win seats on the board of UK-headquartered media agency conglomerate Aegis Group.

Bolloré, who owns just under the 30% stake that would trigger an automatic takeover bid for the company, says he is unlikely to make a sixth attempt to gain two board seats - at least not this year.

Speaking at the Cannes Lions advertising festival, the French financier said there was a problem of timing with calling another vote, and that he was tied up with other projects, such as gaining full control of French market researcher CSA, owning a radio station and a second digital terrestrial TV channel in France, and launching an electric car.

He added: "My people are happy now and busy with that. I suppose we will not ask for a new vote this year. We are not in a hurry."

He also said the improved performance of Havas meant there was less urgency to reach a deal with Aegis.

Looking at the overall advertising picture in the face of economic downturn, Bolloré warned: "Some [advertising] companies will have clients decreasing their commitment and it will decrease the global market.

"I don't believe there is any reason that the global market will remain as high in the crisis as when there is no crisis."

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff