Havas Chief Musters Troops Against Bollore

26 November 2004

In a bid to steady client and investor nerves over its future ownership, French agency holding group Havas is trying to form an alliance of friendly shareholders to thwart corporate raider Vincent Bollore.

Chairman and ceo Alain de Pouzilhac has been courting pro-management shareholders since a visit to the US last week. He was there to add weight to Havas's bid to keep computer chip firm Intel's €240 million ($316m, £168m) global ad and media account.

De Pouzilhac has signed up institutional buyers in the US to his plan as well as two wealthy Spanish investors. He wants the shareholder alliance to own at least as much as Bollore's 20% share of the group by the end of the year.

He believes this will derail Bollore's calls for management change and head off possible trouble at the next annual shareholders' meeting in the spring.

Bollore is demanding seats on the board but has refused to disclose his intentions for the company, a stance that has soured previously good relations with de Pouzilhac.

Data sourced from mad.co.uk; additional and Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff