Havas pursuing partnerships with agency networks

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PARIS -- France's Havas Advertising appears to be nearing a critical stage, with officials confirming that partnership talks with rival ad agencies are advancing. Alain de Pouzilhac, chairman of Havas Advertising - the owner of Euro RSCG, Europe's largest agency - this week said negotiations with other ad groups continue to progress, though he failed to say whom he was considering a link-up with, or when an agreement might be made.

Advertising sources said prospective partners numbered more than three. Group officials had previously said a buy out of an agency had not been excluded, but that since reducing group debt was a priority, a partnership was being considered more carefully. "The price would really have to be right" to opt for a buy out, one group official noted.

Meanwhile, separate partnership talks are still underway with Andersen Consulting, with an agreement said to be very near. Under that anticipated non- equity alliance, the two groups hope to provide clients with a rounded-out offer to provide information management as well as marketing and communications.

Copyright October 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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