Vincent Bolloré, chairman and largest shareholder in Paris-headquartered advertising conglomerate Havas, announced Thursday he now owns 19.96% of Aegis Group.
His stake in the London-based media and research services multinational, now valued at £280 million ($495.9m €413.9m), is double the ten per cent necessary to block the delisting of Aegis shares - and by extension any bid for the company.
Speculation about Bolloré's motives is rife, although many onlookers see it as significant that he is within a whisker of the 22% holding used to bulldoze his way onto the Havas board and dispose of former chairman/ceo Alain de Pouzilhac.
Bolloré insists there is no connection between his investments in Havas and Aegis; he is also on record that he would "prefer" Aegis to remain independent.
A much-loved cliché of Hollywood Westerns comes to mind: "White man speak with forked tongue."
Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff