French advertising services group Havas has inked a deal with its UK-headquartered rival WPP to buy out the latter's Paris-based Leg agency to boost its creative muscle.
The move will bring into the Havas fold Leg's founder and creative head Gabriel Gaultier to manage the prized Citroen business, currently handled by Havas agency ER27. The move is also intended to calm the group's nerves after its MPG media buying unit lost the Citroen account two months ago.
A Havas spokeswoman would only confirm the purchase - the project of Havas creative chief and vice-chairman Jacques Seguela. No financial details have been revealed and WPP, so far, remains tight-lipped.
According to the French press, negotiations between the two were complicated by the will-they/won't they? tussle for UK-headquartered media and market research group Aegis.
Havas chairman Vincent Bolloré has built a near 25% stake in Aegis, although he insists his interest is nothing more than a "financial investment".
WPP chairman Sir Martin Sorrell has expressed a more overt interest in a takeover and has until November 25 to decide whether to make a formal offer [WAMN: 08-Nov-05].
Data sourced from reuters.com and lefigaro.fr; additional content by WARC staff