Fresh from last week's victory in the Havas boardroom battle [WAMN: 10-June-05], corporate raider Vincent Bolloré has set about strengthening his position at the world's sixth largest advertising group.

His Bolloré Media Investissements vehicle, which owns 20.4% of France-headquartered Havas, is combining with the 4% stake held by Sebastian Holdings, based in the Caribbean and controlled by Norwegian Alexander Vik.

The pact would require Sebastian Holdings to sell its share in Havas to Bolloré if it should decide to dispose of its stake.

A Bolloré statement says the move aims to give Havas a "stable long-term shareholder structure". The manoeuvrings of the past few months, which culminated in Bolloré's win of four seats on the Havas board, have been heavily criticised and opposed by chairman and ceo Alain de Pouzilhac.

De Pouzilhac's future with the group is uncertain. However, according to French newspapers he has sent an email to employees saying: "You can count on me . . . I intend right now to fully take on my responsibilities . . . I will put all my heart and all my energy into continuing the company's recovery."

Data sourced from Brand Republic (UK); additional content by WARC staff