What’s in a name? About FFr30 million (E4.6m, $4.1m), judging by Havas Advertising’s deal with Vivendi Universal to buy rights to its own title.

Vivendi used to be the agency group’s biggest shareholder, and still owns the name – taken from Charles Louis Havas, founder of the first news agency in the world in 1835 – which it has been leasing to Havas for the last four years.

However, Havas – the world’s fifth largest ad group – has agreed a deal to buy the moniker for good. Said chief executive Alain de Pouzilhac: “We’re very pleased with the result of the negotiations. Havas is a strong brand which has existed for a long time and we are very happy to keep it.”

The agreement was given the green light by the Havas board Thursday night, with Vivendi confirming the FFr30m price tag.

The business empire founded by Charles Havas grew to include a news agency, publishing house and travel firm, as well as the ad agency, which spun off to become a separate firm in 1968. Vivendi grabbed the rights to the Havas name when it bought a majority stake in the group four years ago.

De Pouzilhac also announced that the ad group would drop the ‘Advertising’ from its title, reflecting the firm’s growing interests in marketing services and media planning.

News source: Wall Street Journal