It's a brave ceo that publicly corrects his chairman and largest shareholder.

So a Gallic air kiss on each cheek to Philippe Wahl, chief executive officer of Havas, who on Wednesday administered a gentle slap on the sleek wrist of French corporate raider and Havas chairman Vincent Bolloré.

At a results briefing last weekend for his holding company, Groupe Bolloré, the eponymous entrepreneur declared it was currently "out of the question" that Aegis Group could be combined with Havas, and that he regarded them as two "totally separate" investments" [WAMN: 03-Oct-05].

Aegis being headquartered and listed in London, these remarks raised the eyebrows of the British Takeover Panel which demanded clarification of Bolloré's comments. Wahl duly obliged.

"At the request of the UK Takeover Panel, Philippe Wahl, chief executive officer of Havas, wishes to clarify that these statements were made by Mr Bolloré in his capacity as chief executive of Groupe Bolloré in relation to its investments in Havas and Aegis respectively. Havas confirms that these statements were not made in Mr Bolloré's capacity as chairman of Havas."

But what should investors - to say nothing of Aegis staff and clients - make of the Havas chairman's public statements?

"Such statements should not be taken as having any bearing on the question of whether or not Havas might participate at any time in any offer for Aegis in any capacity," Wahl responded loftily.

Zut alors!

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff