|Vincent Bollore has again upped his stake in Aegis.
BOLLORE UPS AEGIS STAKE TO 8%
Becomes Second-Largest Shareholder
AEGIS IS TARGET OF TAKEOVER TALKS
Suitor Believed to Be Publicis
AEGIS GROUP REPORTS FIRST-HALF REVENUE UP 15%
CEO Declines to Discuss Vincent Bollore Share Acquisition
VINCENT BOLLORE SELLS SHIPPING COMPANY FOR $600 MILLION
Speculation Swirls About His Plans for the Cash
VINCENT BOLLORE ACQUIRES 6% OF AEGIS GROUP
Aegis Owns Carat Global Media-Buying Agency
The Bollore Group’s increased holdings -- up from 9% as recently as Sept. 30 -- puts Mr. Bollore's company ahead of Chicago-based investment managers Harris Associates, an Aegis spokesman confirmed. Harris has reduced its holding from a little more than 10% to 9.86%, Aegis said today.
Mr. Bollore could not be reached for comment regarding his steadily growing investment in Aegis, which has been approached in tentative acquisition talks by Publicis Groupe, owner of agency networks Leo Burnett Worldwide and Starcom Mediavest Group. Publicis, which has yet to make a formal offer for Aegis, declined to comment.
Aegis Group, based in London, 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, its global media-buying and -planning entity, was founded in France by Gilbert Gross in 1966.
Mr. Bollore’s purchase could potentially complicate matters for Publicis. Under British law, a voluntary offer for a company requires 90% shareholder approval, although that can be waived to a percentage as low as 50%. Now that Mr. Bollore owns more than 10% of the company, he has the right to convene an extraordinary general meeting and ask Aegis shareholders to vote on whatever request is put forth.
Mr. Bollore, who is also the largest shareholder in Havas, with a 22% stake, this summer became chairman of the Paris-based holding company.
Mr. Bollore, a French corporate raider, over the weekend reiterated his position that he has no interest in intention of taking control of Havas. In an interview published Oct. 1 in Le Figaro, he also characterized his holdings in Aegis as “a long-term investment.”
The addition of Carat or other parts of Aegis to Havas would give some much-needed heft to MPG, Havas' media buying and planning agency that fares well in Spain, France and Latin America.