When It Rains It Pours At Bollore Group

The bad news keeps rolling in for Bollore Group, the company that controls Havas parent Vivendi.

As the Financial Times reported earlier today, local authorities in Paris voted to end a partnership with the company that provided a popular electric car-sharing service in the city and its environs called Autolib.

According to the FT, the decision was the result of a dispute over funding for the money-losing venture. Paris officials refused to come up with over $300 million that Bollore claimed was the city’s obligation to cover a budget deficit.

It’s the latest setback for Bollore, although probably not the most serious, despite the blow to its “green” credentials.

No, more serious was the news in April that Bollore patriarch Vincent Bollore had been formally charged as part of an investigation into a corruption case involving Bollore Group and Havas, the advertising holding company it controls.



The ongoing investigation involves allegations that Bollore Group provided discounted communications services via Havas to two African country presidential contenders (both won) in exchange for contracts to run shipping port concessions.

Other minor catastrophes have erupted since then at Vivendi, where Bollore scion Yannick Bollore, who is the head of Havas, assumed the chair position from his father Vincent shortly before the latter was charged in the alleged African port scandal investigation.

The firm lost the rights to a coveted football league (we call it soccer in the U.S.) which it has held since the 1980’s. And per the FT, it lost control of the board of Telecom Italia, in which it is the largest shareholder.

Well, if you’re going to run a big international conglomerate like Bollore Group, you have to learn to deal with such issues pretty much on a daily basis. And Yannick is clearly the heir apparent, so consider these setbacks part of his trial by fire.


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