Havas steps up search for a partner

Havas Advertising’s lengthy search for a merger partner took on a new urgency this week following the takeover of the Havas holding company by the French conglomerate, Generale des Eaux.

Havas Advertising’s lengthy search for a merger partner took on a

new urgency this week following the takeover of the Havas holding

company by the French conglomerate, Generale des Eaux.



Generale des Eaux has signalled that its priorities lie with Havas’s

media interests, rather than its advertising arm. But the company has

said it would look favourably on any deal that would raise the critical

mass of Havas Advertising, which owns the Euro RSCG network and Campus

Worknet, another loose association of agencies that includes WCRS.



Alain de Pouzilhac, chairman of Havas Advertising, confirmed his search

for a partner was progressing, but denied a deal was imminent.



’We are very open and are holding discussions with any groups we believe

can give us critical mass. We hope to have a deal in place by the end of

the year, but rumours that we will do something sooner than that are

fantasy,’ he said.



He declined to comment on reports that talks with both Saatchi & Saatchi

and Aegis had reached a critical stage.



He did, however, strenuously deny reports that Havas Advertising was up

for sale. ’Never has any merchant bank been given the authority to sell

us,’ he stated.



Havas, the world’s eighth largest advertising organisation, has held

informal talks about possible closer links with a number of

’Anglo-Saxon’ networks since news of the merger with Generale des Eaux

first broke.



Through such links, Havas hopes to enter the network top five.



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