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VINCENT BOLLORE STAKE IN AEGIS CONTINUES TO GROW

Corporate Raider and Havas Chairman Now Owns 17.38%

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PARIS (AdAge.com) -- Vincent Bollore, the French corporate raider and chairman of Havas, yesterday said he has bought an additional 22 million shares in Aegis Group, bringing his total stake to 17.38%.
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The news was announced in a statement from Bollore Group, which said it declared the Oct. 14 purchase to the authorities in keeping with U.K. regulations.

The 30% line
The stake provides Mr. Bollore with stature enough to command the attention of Aegis management but not enough to require an offer. In the U.K., shareholders who own 30% of a company must make a purchase offer.

London-based Aegis Group is traded on the London stock exchange and is the world's seventh-largest marketing services organization, with worldwide revenues of $1.4 billion, according to Ad Age figures. Carat is its global media buying-and-planning entity.

Publicis Groupe
Mr. Bollore upped his stake to more than 17% just as French ad company Publicis Groupe said it would not make an offer for Aegis. However, Publicis reserved the right to come back in if a third party announces a firm intention to make an offer or if the Aegis board recommends it makes an offer. If Publicis hadn’t added the caveat, it would have to wait six months to make an offer under U.K. law.

Meanwhile, Aegis’ investment banker Greenhill & Co., London, has opened up a “data room,” putting the media company’s financials up for inspection by prospective buyers. One of those interested is WPP Group, which is eyeing Aegis’ research company Synovate. WPP has teamed with San Francisco private equity firm Hellman & Friedman.

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