The Havas chief executive, Philippe Wahl, said Bollore's recent remarks - that his stake in Aegis was a short-term investment - were made in his capacity as the chief executive of Groupe Bollore and had no bearing on Havas. Bollore now holds a 12 per cent stake in the holding company.
The clarification comes in the week that WPP joined the race for control of Aegis. WPP has teamed up with the US-based private equity group Hellman & Friedman. The two companies met with Aegis' chief executive, Robert Lerwill, earlier this week.
WPP's chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, sees Aegis' research arm Synovate as the ideal vehicle to let him realise his ambition of reducing WPP's reliance on traditional advertising networks.
With the MediaCom, MindShare and Mediaedge:cia networks already in its stable, WPP would struggle get an outright purchase of Aegis past competition authorities, so Hellman & Friedman would look to take control of Carat and Vizeum.