LONDON: Havas chairman Vincent Bolloré (pictured) believes the weakening economic climate on both sides of the Atlantic could make the UK-headquartered media agency group Aegis more amenable to his acquisition desires.

According to UK advertising magazine Campaign, the French financier's loyal (but unnamed) lieutenants are confidently predicting Aegis will become part of the Havas marketing communications empire by the end of the year.

Aegis, whose business brands include Carat, Vizeum and Synovate, has seen its share price slip around 27% from a year ago. It has long been the object of Bolloré's affections but has so far resisted his advances. 

Meanwhile, he has built up his stake in the company to 29.86%, just under the 30% threshold which would require him to make a formal bid.

In the recent past Bolloré has been pushing for seats on the Aegis board, but the whispering campaign by Havas insiders claims they are being encouraged to look at ways in which the network could be assimilated into their business.

These same insiders have also offered opinions on the future of Aegis management if billionaire Bolloré gains control of the group.

Having laid the groundwork, it only remains for the man himself to make his move. 

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