Havas Bolsters Board to Block Bolloré

14 April 2005

Suresnes (France) headquartered marketing services holding company Havas, number six in the world rankings, announced Wednesday it is to introduce new measures designed to protect the company from its largest shareholder - French corporate raider Vincent Bolloré.

The actual announcement, of course, was rather less frank as to the group's intentions. It simply stated that Havas plans to appoint three new independent directors, bringing the board total to sixteen. The company also intends to introduce measures to encourage staff to increase their holdings of Havas stock.

Over the last several months, Bolloré's cat and mouse manoeuvrings have destabilized Havas. His ploys include the amassing of a 20% stake in the company, relentless (but unsuccessful) lobbying for the appointment of his nominees to the board, and refusal to clarify his intentions as to a bid.

Shareholder will be asked to approve the defensive measures at Havas' annual meeting on June 9. They follow hard on the heels of a joint venture deal struck last week with WPP Group [WAMN: 08-Apr-05].

The Paris Bourse gave its tacit approval to the Havas 'block Bolloré' strategy, its shares closing Wednesday up 2% to €4.53 ($5.85; £3.09).

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