Bolloré’s Havas Hand Stays Close to Chest

29 October 2004

Required by the French Commercial Code to state his intentions regarding beleaguered marketing services group Havas, corporate raider Vincent Bolloré remains as vague as the law will allow - which in France is on the fuzzy side of nebulous.

In little more than a few weeks, he has built a 22.6% stake in Havas, making him its largest shareholder. In a formal statement to the Commission des Opérations de Bourse (the French stock market authority) he reveals rather less than a Boston belly-dancer: the Groupe Bolloré and its Financiere du Loch unit have no "immediate" intention of attempting to take control of Havas, he states.

On the other hand, Bolloré "reserves the right to buy or sell Havas shares in accordance with market opportunities and the 'evolution of relationships' with Havas management".

But he did commit himself to one thing: he wants representation on the Havas board for "several" of his nominated directors.

With admirable Gallic flexibility, French law accords Bolloré's statement the legality of a declaration of intent for the upcoming twelve months - but commits him to zilch. At the same time, however, it permits him to reserve the right to modify the terms of his declaration.

D'autre part ...

Data sourced from AdWeek (USA); additional content by WARC staff