Aegis posts 14.8% rise in first-half revenue

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[London] Aegis CEO Robert Lerwill said he hasn't spoken to Vincent Bollore, Havas's biggest shareholder and now chairman, and France's best-known corporate raider, since Mr. Bollore acquired a 6% stake in Aegis last month. "The only fact is that Mr. Bollore has 6%," he said. Last week Aegis reported a 14.8% jump in first-half revenue to $682 million, with a 7.5% increase in revenue from organic growth.

Despite speculation that Mr. Bollore or Omnicom could buy Aegis or negotiate a merger, Mr. Lerwill insisted that Aegis-which includes Carat, Vizeum, Isobar, Posterscope and market research firm Synovate-will "continue to follow the strategy of concentrating on media and market research." That strategy is not to be full-service, he said. "The neutrality of our advice is valued by our clients."

"I have had one drink with [Omnicom CEO] John Wren since I took over in February," he said. "There were no discussions about buying a stake." Mr. Lerwill emphasized that Aegis is a strong rival to the bigger holding companies in the areas where they compete.

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