Total revenues rose only 1.8% during the first nine months of 2008, though Havas said organic revenues grew at a rate of 5.8% vs. the same period in 2007. Significant factors in the slowdown were a relatively high base of comparison with strong growth rates the preceding year, the loss of the Dell computer account in Asia, and "a drop in investment in North America," in the tourism, finance and health categories.
"Third quarter growth in the United States was penalized by an exceptionally high basis for comparison in 2007 and by a significant reduction in advertising spend in certain sectors such as banking and tourism. These alone account for a 4 point fall in our organic growth in the zone," the company said.
Havas is the parent of MPG and Havas Digital in the U.S. and similar media networks worldwide, and on Thursday announced a restructuring of its U.K. media operations that consolidates all its media operation units under the Havas Media brand. The move comes a little more than a year after Havas formed a similar Havas Media brand identity in France, and speculation is that it may ultimately make a similar move in the U.S. All of Havas' digital operations, including Media Contacts, currently operate under Havas Digital.
The U.K. reorganization, which is effective immediately, was made to "drive deeper integration of traditional media planning and buying with a variety of disciplines such as digital, data, direct, sports and entertainment, experiential, branded content and PR," the company said.
As part of the move, Havas named Lord Watson chairman, and Mark Craze CEO of Havas Media U.K.. Craze was managing partner at MPG U.K. Marc Mendoza, also currently a managing partner, will now assume full day-to-day control of MPG U.K., becoming CEO.