Havas Ups Acquisitions, Doubles Stake In Creston
Havas Group, the Paris-based ad holding company, has doubled its stake in London-based marketing and communications services firm Creston Plc, according to a Creston regulatory filing.
On Monday, Creston reported that Havas had acquired over 6% of the company, or a total of more than 3.7 million shares -- up from less than 3%.
Word of the Havas investment drove Creston shares up 8% to $11.87 on Monday, prompting some speculation in the European press that Havas might be preparing to buy a controlling stake in the company.
Creston operates nearly 24 marketing firms providing services in sectors such as market research, branding, advertising, digital and direct marketing, PR and health care communications.
Don Elgie is group CEO of Creston, a post he has held since January 2001. Barrie Brien is both COO and CFO. Brien is the brother of Nick Brien, CEO of Interpublic’s McCann World Group.
Creston clients include Diageo, eBay, Guinness and Nissan, among others. The company reported an 11% revenue gain to $117 million for its fiscal year 2012 which ended March 31. Revenue growth slowed in the company's first quarter of fiscal 2013 (ended June 30) however, to just a 1% gain, while "like for like," or organic revenue growth, fell 7%.
Havas has made a number of high-profile acquisitions this year. Last month, the company bought a majority stake in Boondoggle, said to be the largest independent digital agency in Benelux.
In May, Havas bought Creative Lynx, a digital health-care communications company, which is based in the UK.
In April, it bought Ignition, the U.S.-based experiential marketing shop that also has offices in London and Moscow. Earlier the same month, it bought a majority stake in crowdsourcing agency Victors & Spoils, the Boulder, Colo. shop that was founded in 2009 by a trio of former Crispin Porter + Bogusky veterans.