Bolloré Ups Aegis Stake as French Press Hype Publicis Bid

03 October 2005

In a weekend enlivened by persistent reports in the French press that Publicis Groupe is poised to make a formal bid for UK-headquartered media-buying and research specialist Aegis Group, Gallic corporate raider Vincent Bolloré decided to rain on Publicis' parade.

Bolloré, whose predatory practices recently shoehorned him into the chair of rival French advertising group Havas, late last week upped his stake in Aegis from 8.04%to 11.38%.

Canny operator that he is, Bolloré declined to oblige the press on Friday by explaining why he continues to build his stake in Aegis. "Aegis is negotiating with Publicis. The outcome of these talks may lead us to change our position," was his cryptic response.

Might Havas itself have romantic intentions toward Aegis, asked the gentlemen and ladies of the press? Bolloré donned his Mona Lisa smile: "Havas does not want to partner anyone," he said, adding that he sees Aegis and Havas as "two completely different investments".

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff