Fine Details Missing from Havas Chief's Vision

14 December 2005

After six months of silence, Havas group chairman Vincent Bolloré has finally spoken, albeit enigmatically, about his strategy for the France-headquartered advertising conglomerate.

At a Paris news conference Bolloré, who took control in June after a bitter boardroom battle, said he intended to remain with Havas for the "long term" but did not specify how long that might be.

The former corporate raider was also less than forthcoming about his intentions for London-based media buying group Aegis, in which he has racked up a 25% stake during recent months.

He said the "game was open" for a possible link between Aegis and Havas, and that "there is a logic in coming together in the possibility of media buying". But he stressed he had no immediate plans for seeking a seat on the board, or for increasing his Aegis stake to more than 30%, at which point he would be legally obliged to make a takeover bid.

Bolloré was clearer in his warning that Havas sales this month would be 10% per cent lower than a year ago, adding that underlying sales growth would slow to around 1.5% in 2005 from 2.8% for the first nine months of the year.

He criticized the previous management, led by the ousted Alain de Pouzilhac, blaming it for embarking on a "calamitous" acquisition policy. Jacques Herail, chief financial officer, left the group last month.

Data sourced from Adweek (USA) and Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff