AEGIS HIRES NEW MEDIA CHIEF
Former WPP Exec Mainardo de Nardis to Head Global Operations
AEGIS TO OPEN BOOKS FOR PROSPECTIVE BUYERS
Meanwhile Vincent Bollore Ups Stake to 14.7%
VINCENT BOLLORE EXPLAINS LATEST MOVES
Havas, Aegis to Remain Independent, While He Pushes Into Media
HAVAS DISTANCES ITSELF FROM AEGIS TAKEOVER TALKS
Says Statements By Chairman Bollore Do Not Reflect Company Agenda
WPP EYES AEGIS ACQUISITION
Teams With Equity Firm in Counter Move Against Publicis
AEGIS IS TARGET OF TAKEOVER TALKS
Suitor Believed to Be Publicis
Aegis, which has been the subject of takeover interest since late September, requested that the regulatory group take action so that its fate can be decided reasonably quickly. The panel met with representatives of each company -- Aegis, WPP and Hellman & Friedman -- in recent days before determining the Nov. 25 date.
Hellman & Friedman and WPP, parent of agency networks including JWT and Young & Rubicam, approached Aegis in early October about buying Aegis, parent of media buying and planning unit Carat and research unit Synovate. Another agency holding company, Publicis Groupe, expressed interest in making a possible bid in late September, but in earlier this month decided not to move forward with it.
While WPP and Hellman strategize their next move, French investor Vincent Bollore, who is also chairman of French holding company Havas, continues his shopping spree, snapping up shares of Aegis. This morning he announced his stake in Aegis has increased to 20.8%. He began the week with 20.22%. As Aegis’ single-largest shareholder, Mr. Bollore can convene special shareholder meetings and call for votes on particular matters. Once his stake reaches 25%, he’ll gain additional rights. At 30%, under U.K. law, he must make an offer for the whole company.
Knowledgeable executives said Mr. Bollore is interested in keeping Aegis independent and in forging a joint venture or partnership between Havas and Aegis that will help Havas’ media-buying entity, MPG.
Until now, suitors have largely kept their true intentions veiled. But with a deadline now set, the various players will have to be more open. Publicis, in its withdrawal several weeks ago, left itself the option of re-entering the fray. It included in its withdrawal several caveats under which it said it might re-consider and make an offer. Those caveats are: If a third party, other than WPP and Hellmann expresses interest, or if Aegis’ board requests an offer from Publicis.