Bollore Loses Yet Another Bid to Gain Seats on Aegis Board

Third Time Not a Charm for French Financier

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LONDON ( -- Vincent Bollore has failed for a third time to persuade Aegis Group shareholders to give him two seats on the board.
Vincent Bollore
Vincent Bollore Credit: AP

Mr. Bollore, who owns a 29% stake in Aegis and is also chairman of French media group Havas, vowed to continue his campaign for board-level representation despite a third defeat.

A tiny improvement
At an extraordinary general meeting in London this morning, 93% of non-Bollore votes went against the Frenchman. At the last vote, 94% voted against him, so things could be seen as inching in the right direction for Mr. Bollore. When his own votes are taken into account, the numbers show that 43.7% of shareholders back him.

The arguments are the same from both sides as they were at the first two votes. Aegis argues that Mr. Bollore's role as chairman and leading shareholder of rival Havas represents a conflict of interest. Mr. Bollore argues that it is his "duty" to petition for seats on the board.

Speaking at the end of the 12-minute meeting today, Mr. Bollore emphasized that Groupe Bollore is a long-term investor in Aegis and that Groupe Bollore itself is a powerful business force with a good track record since its inception in 1822.

"We want two representatives out of 14," he said. "No one can argue that we are trying to seek control. In the world many companies have a conflict of interest -- British Airways has two seats on the board of Iberia Airlines -- we don't believe it is an important argument. The active participation of shareholders is vital to this board."
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