|Vincent Bollore has won his battle against Alain de Pouzilhac for four seats on the Havas board.
BOLLORE WINS FOUR BOARD SEATS IN HAVAS STRUGGLE
Alain de Pouzilhac Fails in Quest to Block Raider
BOLLORE SAYS STAKE IN HAVAS IS 'FOR THE LONG TERM'
Defends Intentions as Critical June 9 Vote Nears
HAVAS BOLSTERS POSITION AGAINST BOLLORE
Advisory Firms Recommend Against Raider's Board Candidates
HAVAS REJECTS BOLLORE'S BID FOR BOARD SEATS
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VINCENT BOLLORE MANEUVERS TOWARD JUNE HAVAS SHOWDOWN
Corporate Raider Wants Four Seats on Board
HAVAS EYES BOARD CHANGES
Move Seen as Way to Rein in Corporate Raider Vincent Bollore
HAVAS STALKER VINCENT BOLLORE MAKES NEW MOVE
Uses 55.1 Million Havas Shares as Collateral for Large Loan
MAJOR HAVAS SHAREHOLDER UPS STAKE
Vincent Bollore Now Has 20% of Holding Company
Now controls 26%
His holdings, plus the 4% of new ally Sebastian Holdings, puts Mr. Bollore in control of 26% of the advertising holding company's outstanding shares.
Mr. Bollore won four seats on Havas' 18-member board after a raucous, much-followed shareholders meeting in Paris last week. About 72% of Havas' shareholders attended the event -- nearly double the country's average attendance of 40% for such meetings.
In the wake of vote, the continuing friction between Mr. Bollore and Havas' chairman-CEO, Alain de Pouzilhac, is evident. In an interview with French newspaper La Tribune June 14 Mr. Bollore said he was "a bit surprised" that Mr. de Pouzilhac had announced his intention to stay on as chairman and CEO following his defeat. "It's his decision," Mr. Bollore told the newspaper. "Make what you will of it." Asked if he wants de Pouzilhac to leave, Mr. Bollore said, "I've already told him that I didn't request his leaving despite him feeling resentful toward me."
Will not resign
After his vote last week, Mr. de Pouzilhac said he would "bear the consequences" of the election results. He said in a memo distributed to Havas employees June 10 that he would not resign. "I now intend to assume fully my responsibilities," he said, adding, "Please rest assured that my commitment and determination are intact. You can rely on me."
Mr. Bollore and Mr. de Pouzilhac will meet June 21 at Havas' first meeting with its new board. In addition to Mr. Bollore, the reconstituted board now includes three executives from Bollore SA companies, as well as two new directors, Laurence Parisot and Pierre Bouchut, nominated by Havas.
Opposed 'creeping takeover'
Mr. de Pouzilhac publicly opposed the nomination of Mr. Bollore and his representatives, citing a concern that their unstated goal was to launch a "creeping takeover" without paying a premium price for the company's shares.
Mr. Bollore's spokesman, according to a Reuters report, said Mr. Bollore aims to own between 20% and 30% of Havas. Under French law, a shareholder whose stake exceeds 33% automatically triggers a takeover. Mr. Bollore has in the recent past said he does not intend to do that. His spokesman could not be reached at press time.
Mr. Bollore in La Tribune also spoke about Havas future, saying: "Since we have a great experience as executives in our own group and as administrators and shareholders in other groups such as Mediobanca or Vallourrec, we think we can help Havas' board of directors. Our unique interest is to enhance and develop Havas' business. I am still unable to give an opinion on the precise strategy I want for Havas until I have all the group's data at hand. This company has a wealth of talents and that's why most of its clients are leading worldwide groups. In addition, when I see how Publicis largely overtook Havas in only four years, I think it is possible for Havas to overtake Publicis in the next four years. Havas has great potential."