London-headquartered media and research specialist Aegis Group, radiated seasonal good cheer with its latest fiscal update.

It reported Thursday that it will comfortably meet market expectations for 2004 and is "well positioned" for growth in 2005 following a "modest recovery" in its key markets.

But the Ghost of Christmas Past intervened as Aegis - parent of the Carat media planning/buying network - warned of problems with its French unit which has "experienced a number of client defections towards the end of the year".

Some of these secessions have reportedly been to KRMedia, a rival launched by two former Carat executives with the backing of the UK's WPP Group. The matter is now in the hands of French government investigators, who have rifled files in KRM's Paris office for evidence of illicit client-poaching.

  • But now, a return to Yuletide joy. Aegis also reported it had bought itself a Christmas gift in the shape of iProspect, a stateside internet search-marketing agency. A snip at £32 million ($61.2m; €45.71m) plus an additional £18m phased over the next two years.

    Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff