Some see it as the signal for a carve-up. With the carcass on the plate being Havas - the globe's seventh largest agency holding company.

Honing the knife is billionaire Belgian corporate raider Albert Frère, boss of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, which announced Friday it had acquired a 4.2% stake.

Many observers believe the acquisition flags an alliance with fellow raider Vincent Bolloré - who within a few weeks has become Havas' largest shareholder with a 22.6% stake.

Other onlookers are mystified as to Frère's motives. Except, that one way or the other he scents a killing.

Meantime, Havas chairman/ceo Alain de Pouzilhac is reportedly relaxed over the purchase, although denying he had invited Frère to invest in Havas as a defensive move.

Assures a Havas mole: "There is no hostility and no demand … they [Frère and de Pouzilhac ] get on well."

Havas' sagging share price is set to receive a welcome boost today (Monday) with the announcement that the group has won the global ad account for French pharmaceuticals group Sanofi-Aventis, specifically the Lovenox thrombosis drug and Lantus/Apidra diabetes treatment.

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