VINCENT BOLLORE EXPLAINS LATEST MOVES

Havas, Aegis to Remain Independent, While He Pushes Into Media

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NEW YORK (Adage.com) -- French corporate raider Vincent Bollore shed some light today on his intentions regarding Aegis Group, Havas and his media sector investments.
Vincent Bollore offers an explanation.
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Aegis' independence
France’s Internet financial paper Agefi.fr. quotes Mr. Bollore as saying, “As president of Bollore Group and as a financial investor, I see that Aegis has a very good organic growth while remaining independent.”

Financiere du Loch, a unit of his Bollore Group conglomerate, said it now owns 14.06% of Aegis, parent of media-buying and -planning unit Carat and research unit Synovate, among others. At the end of last week, Mr. Bollore owned 13.35%.

Aegis investments
Mr. Bollore, who is also chairman of advertising holding company Havas and its single-largest shareholder with more than 22%, continues to maintain that Havas can survive as an independent entity. Last week, in response to a request from the U.K.’s Takeover Panel, the entity that monitors investor activity, Mr. Bollore said he is investing in London-based Aegis on behalf of the Bollore Group, not Havas.

In the published report, he said he is not asking for a seat on Aegis’ board and that he “could not say more on the future of his investment in Aegis. ... It depends on the share prices, our strategy, and the economic situation.”

Bollore Group's agenda
But Mr. Bollore also appears to be committed to the goal of building out the Bollore Group’s media unit and making his company a player in the media and advertising world. He said he has no intention of increasing his holdings in Havas and that he is in favor of the continuation of the independence of the group. “Our strategy is to contribute to the development of Havas.”

Mr. Bollore also said he is building his cash reserves. With the recent sale of his shipping company, Delmas’ Vieljeux, he has 1 billion euros (about $1.21 billion), and said he is planning to sell other units of his company.

But he confirmed his intention to remain a diversified group: ”Bollore can be an important player in media, while remaining a big group in transports, paper and other activities.”

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