Bollore Ups Stake In Aegis, Havas

French financier Vincent Bollore is upping his ante in two of Europe's big agency holding companies: Havas and Aegis Group. Through a series of transactions made in recent weeks, Bollore paid $10.7 million to boost his stake in Paris-based Havas to nearly 31%, according to filings with French regulators. Bollore, meanwhile, has also acquired additional shares of Aegis stock, boosting his position to 29.86% of the London-based holding company, and just below the 30% level that would force him to make a formal bid.

It was unclear why Bollore increased his stake in Havas. He already is chairman of the French holding company, which is the parent of MPG, Arnold and Euro RSCG. Likewise, it was not apparent why he upped his position in Aegis, but kept it below the 30% mark, but Bollore's stake in Aegis was diluted to 28.96% in May when Aegis issued new publicly traded shares of its common stock.

In June, after he was defeated in his fourth bid to gain two seats on the Aegis board, Bollore indicated that he was content with his Aegis stake.

In July, equities firm UBS issued a research report boosting Aegis' shares to a "buy" rating on the assumption that it would ultimately go into play and that the value of the stock could nearly double. The UBS report speculated that Bollore would not be the likely suitor, but that one of the other big agency holding companies such as WPP, Omnicom or Publicis, would make the run at Aegis.



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