PARIS: In a bid to quell mounting speculation that it is to launch a second takeover bid for Aegis Group, Paris-headquartered Publicis Groupe on Tuesday issued a statement dismissing the rumours as without foundation.

Publicis first declared its interest in acquiring Aegis twenty months ago [WARC News: 22-Sep-05] but was cold-shouldered by Aegis shareholders.

Since when French corporate raider (and Havas chairman) Vincent Bolloré has amassed a 29% stake in the London-headquartered media and research specialist - although he has yet to make a further move, other than two unsuccessful attempts to gain a pair of seats on the Aegis board.

This is vociferously opposed by Aegis chairman Lord Colin Sharman who believes that Bolloré's controlling stake in Paris-headquartered advertising holding group Havas constitutes a conflict of interest.

Meantime, in its press statement Publicis declared: "[We] would like to make clear that rumours on financial markets concerning a possible offer for Aegis Plc shares are groundless."

In any event, given the extent of Bolloré's Aegis shareholding, it is unlikely that an acquisition bid from whatever source could succeed without his approval.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff