Bollore to lobby Aegis shareholders

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[london] Havas Chairman Vincent Bollore, defeated in his effort to win two board seats at Aegis Group's annual general meeting last week, plans to lobby Aegis shareholders and eventually demand an extraordinary general meeting to reconsider his nominees. Factoring out Mr. Bollore's own votes as Aegis' biggest shareholder (with a 29% stake), 94% of votes were against his two candidates, former Cannes Lions festival owner Roger Hatchuel and French businessman Philippe Germond.

Aegis opposed giving Mr. Bollore representation on the company's board because he is a major shareholder and chairman of rival Havas. "The board takes a different view founded purely on conflict of interest," Aegis Group CEO Robert Lerwill said. "There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict of interest."

"I will not be rude and convene a new assembly before September," Mr. Bollore said at the meeting, but he did make it very clear that he will not give up the fight for representation.

The outcome was very different a year ago, when Mr. Bollore outmaneuvered Havas Chairman-CEO Alain de Pouzilhac at Havas' annual general meeting, winning four board seats. Mr. de Pouzilhac quickly left Havas and Mr. Bollore took over as chairman. In the Havas case, unlike the Aegis situation, Mr. Bollore had enlisted solid support both from within Havas' management and among its shareholders. He also did not own a major stake in a Havas rival.

Aegis institutional investor BNP Paribas predicted in a statement after the meeting that Mr. Bollore will continue to put pressure on the board in the short term, and there is a high probability that he later will end up bidding for Aegis to take control. BNP concluded: "While we do not expect a transaction before this autumn, Aegis' speculative appeal is strong." -emma hall

Disney licenses characters for healthful foods in U.K.

[london] Disney is licensing healthful-food options in U.K. supermarkets in an effort to help banish the memory of its 10-year association with McDonald's Corp., which expires at the end of 2006 and will not be renewed.

The U.K.'s biggest supermarket chain, Tesco, is selling "Winnie the Pooh" satsumas, with collectible stickers on the skin of the fruit that can be transferred into a sticker book. Tesco is selling "Finding Nemo" branded water, "Disney Princess" fruit drinks and cartons of "Incredibles" milk as well.

Disney also is licensing Winnie the Pooh and Friends and Mickey and Friends dried fruits. Some of the products will be available at other U.K. supermarkets as well. Disney receives royalties for the use of its brand.

Andy Mooney, chairman of Disney Consumer Products, said in a statement: "We are trying to develop 'better for you' food ranges for kids." Disney's U.K. product range distances the brand as much as possible from the childhood-obesity debate in which McDonald's is embroiled.

Licensed products in Germany and France are not so exclusively healthy, although Mickey kiwi fruit will be sold in French supermarket Champion (part of Carrefour) beginning in July. Champion already sells Mickey-branded tomatoes, bananas, apples, burgers, fish nuggets and chicken nuggets. -emma hall

Nokia, MediaCom offer Cannes info via text

[new york] At the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival this week, Nokia and MediaCom Worldwide are offering a free mobile information service that allows anyone at Cannes-or not at Cannes-to get news about the festival by texting "LionsRoam" or receive goal-by-goal updates on World Cup games by texting "Lions-Play." "Every single time a country scores, you see right as it happens, even though you may be sitting in a seminar," said Kari Jackson-Kloenther, MediaCom's marketing director. The goal is to inspire Cannes attendees to consider adding mobile marketing to their campaigns. Once the weeklong festival is over, though, the text messages will end, World Cup updates included. -meredith deliso

MPG retains Danone's $75 million biz in Spain

[new york] In the latest of Groupe Danone's country-by-country media-pitch efforts to work with just four agencies-MPG, Carat, OMD and Group M-Havas' MPG kept the estimated $75 million Danone account in Spain after a four-way pitch including Carat, OMD and Mediaedge:cia. MPG also picked up the estimated $120 million French account in December 2005. A decision hasn't been made yet on Danone's media planning and buying in the U.S., where PHD, MPG and Carat will pitch this week against incumbent MediaCom for the $75 million account.

-laurel wentz

FYI ...

china's government ordered Sony Pictures, distributor of "The Da Vinci Code," to pull the film from Chinese cinemas on June 9, three weeks after the popular movie opened in China. ... WPP Group's Millward Brown bought All China Strategic Research, a market-research company based in Beijing. ACSR's business will be merged with Millward Brown's China business, with WPP holding a majority stake in the combined company. ACSR's clients in China include Procter & Gamble, Unilever, LG Group and Wal-Mart Stores.
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