Speculation a deal might be near grew when the share prices of Cordiant Communications Group and Saatchi & Saatchi increased 10% and 8%, respectively, from March 31 to April 2. Each company, through a spokesman, denied either was in discussions with Havas. He attributed the share-price rises to market anticipation of strong 1997 results.
A Havas Advertising official would make no comment on whether an acquisition of Cordiant -- the parent of Bates Worldwide -- was an option, nor whether Leo Burnett Co. was being courted as reported in France.
The official would not reveal the names of any agencies Havas was considering in the hunt for an international partner it hopes to find by the end of 1998.
A spokesman for Leo Burnett Co., Chicago, denied it is in discussions with Havas.
In another development, Compagnie Generale des Eaux, which last month revealed its bid to acquire Havas Advertising parent Havas, has changed its name to Vivendi.
The switch is designed to create a corporate image more in line with the group's activities in multimedia, TV and telecommunications and abandon the name associated with its initial water-services business.
Euro RSCG is handling the advertising and public relations effort announcing the name change.