Havas Advertising is mulling the creation of a new global branding unit if Tempus Group shareholders endorse its friendly $605 million (E678) acquisition of the British-based media specialist in the face of a possible counter bid from WPP Group [WAMN: 23-Jul-01].

According to Havas chief executive Alain de Pouzilhac in an interview with the Wall Street Journal: “"I have had discussions with Chris [Ingram – Tempus founder and ceo] over how we would develop the branding side of the business, and we have discussed creating a fifth division within Havas with headquarters in London.

In addition to its media planning and buying expertise Tempus, unlike Havas, also boasts track record in branding consultancy via its Added Value unit in the UK and Tempus-Fusion in the US. Industry observers see de Pouzilhac’s evangelizing of the relatively insignificant branding element as a carrot to sway Tempus investors from the WPP camp should Sir Martin Sorrell decide to mount a bid.

It also serves to reassure Tempus management and staff that the French group intends to build on the UK business’s core strengths – rather than absorb them without trace.

On the media planning/buying front, Havas plans to incorporate Tempus's CIA Medianetwork unit into its own Media Planning Group, creating a hybrid with 2000 pro forma billings of $14.4 billion (E16.1 billion) and estimated cost savings of around E19.7m by next year.

News source: Wall Street Journal