Clearly a connoisseur of the mixed metaphor, Publicis Groupe chairman/ceo Maurice Lévy on Monday took time out from schmoozing at the Davos-based World Economic Forum to admit to a "burning fire under the ice" in his desire to acquire the UK's Aegis Group.

Furthermore, confided the ardent Gaul to a reporter from The Times of London, "the flame is never off".

However, even to a race as fervid as the French, desire comes second to dollars - and Lévy made it abundantly plain he would steer clear of any contest that might drive Aegis's market price higher.

Publicis first wooed Aegis last summer [WAMN: 23-Sep-05] but withdrew in October when others - including WPP Group ceo Sir Martin Sorrell - started to rattle their piggybanks in competitive fashion.

However, Publicis insiders infer that Lévy is poised to make a second move on Aegis as soon as the end of March.

Data sourced from Media Week (UK); additional content by WARC staff