The world's sixth largest agency holding group, Paris-headquartered Havas, is reportedly in discussion with ninth-ranked media and market research specialist Aegis Group, based in London.

Their candle-lit whisperings have undoubtedly been brought about by the machinations of French corporate raider Vincent Bolloré, who not only controls and chairs Havas but has also built a 6% stake in Aegis [WAMN: 05-Aug-05].

A union of whatever nature would undoubtedly add hair to the media-negotiating chests of both companies On the Havas family tree are Media Planning Group which services Renault and Adidas among many others. Aegis siblings include the Carat and Vizeum networks.

Analysts note that while the Aegis twins punch their weight in the UK and France, MPG carries more clout in Germany and the USA. "They are certainly a complementary fit and it would give them both better economies of scale," opined one [unidentified] analyst. "The only thing is that joint ventures can get pretty ugly in this business."

Said another haruspex, Mike Hilton of UBS [whose first eleven words prompt curiosity as to which planet he comes from]: "Media buying is one of the few areas where scale matters, and combining Aegis with another player would enable significant synergies."

Meantime, neither group is willing to comment on their reportedly covert talks.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff