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(July 19, 2001) -- Havas Advertising announced this morning it has made a $600 million offer to buy London-based Tempus Group, the parent company of media buying and planning specialist CIA.

Havas plans to merge CIA into its wholly-owned Media Planning Group, currently the 11th-largest media specialist, with 2000 billings of $8.5 billion. CIA currently ranks 13th, with 2000 billings of $5.5 billion. Havas is also the parent company of agency networks Euro RSCG Worldwide and Arnold Worldwide.

The combined media operations will be renamed CIA Media Planning.

CIA management has agreed to unanimously recommend acceptance of the deal, which values CIA at 50% above the Tempus closing share price on Wednesday, the day before the deal was announced.

Havas Chairman-CEO Alain de Pouzilhac is following a three-year plan that calls for Media Planning to rank among the top five media services groups worldwide by 2003, which seemed highly unlikely before the acquisition of CIA. The deal would also mean that 65% of Havas' revenue would come from media and marketing services, which are growing faster and have higher margins than that of traditional advertising.

Tempus Chairman Chris Ingram, who founded CIA 25 years ago, owns 16% of Tempus, and company executives own another 9%. WPP Group had gradually built up a 22% stake in Tempus, and Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP's chief executive, had expressed interest in CIA as a possible fit with his own media specialist, MindShare. Mr. Ingram had consistently made it clear he did not want WPP to acquire his company.

According to a statement by Havas, once the deal is completed, Mr. Ingram will become co-chairman of Media Planning along with current chairman Leopldo Rodes Castane. Media Planning CEO Fernando Rodes will be CEO of the enlarged Media Planning Group. Mainardo de Nardis, currently CEO of Tempus CIA, will be chairman of CIA Media Planning. -- Laurel Wentz

Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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