Aegis Group, the London-headquartered global media planning/buying specialist, yesterday reported profits down by 21.6% to £27.2 million for the half-year to June 30. The fall was attributed to continuing investment, a business cave-in at its technology unit Carat Freeman in Boston, Massachusetts, and difficulties in Argentina.

Referring to widespread speculation that Aegis is now a takeover target for WPP or Havas – depending which is unsuccessful in the joust for Tempus – chief executive Doug Flynn said any bid would meet with robust resistance: “It [a bid] is going to solve someone else’s problem. We are going to grow faster than advertising conglomerates over the next five years.”

Flynn also opined that Tuesday’s devastating terrorist attack on the Atlantic seaboard of the US would not cause the advertising industry long-term damage. “It really is too early to speculate, but it is going to be a short-term issue rather than a long-term issue,” he said.

“We have to see how it will affect corporations and individuals going forward, but ultimately it is something that will impact commerce for weeks and months rather than years.”

News sources: The Times (London); MediaGuardian (UK)