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Bollore Inches Closer to Compulsory Takeover Bid of Havas

Financier Now Owns 32.8% of Holding Company's Stock

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- French financier Vincent Bollore has increased his shares in the Havas holding company, bringing him one step closer to a compulsory takeover bid under French stock-market laws.
Vincent Bollore
Vincent Bollore Credit: Derek Hudson

After his most recent share purchases, Mr. Bollore, who is chairman of Havas' board of directors, now owns 32.8% of Havas' stock. Under French law, shareholders with a 33% ownership are required to make a full takeover bid.

Aegis conflict
Mr. Bollore, who is also the largest shareholder in Havas' rival holding company Aegis Group, has shown an interest in putting together Aegis, whose biggest unit is the Carat media-agency network, and Havas' own media division, MPG. He has been pushing for two seats on Aegis' board of directors, but has met opposition because Aegis board members view it as a conflict of interest. Mr. Bollore has run into a similar ceiling with a U.K. law. If he ups his stake in Aegis, he'd have to make a takeover bid.

In the last vote in May, Mr. Bollore's two candidates were rejected by 95% of non-Bollore Group shareholders.

Havas CEO Fernando Rodés Vilà has acknowledged there is logic in the match up of the Havas and Aegis, but he has said more dialogue between the two holding companies is needed before any merger could take place.
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