Between the Lines: Can Aegis hold off Bollore?

The Aegis board has asked its shareholders to make a tough call by persuading them to see off Vincent Bollore's attempt to install two of his nominees as directors (page 1).

It is hard to dispute the Aegis argument that, by voting in Philippe Germond and Roger Hatchuel, shareholders are in danger of wheeling in a "Trojan horse", and allowing a rival central access to its comings and goings.

Yet Bollore also has a valid case. Surely it cannot be right for a company to deny boardroom representation to its biggest single investor, he insists.

And how much influence can his two nominees wield on a 13-strong board?

The next few weeks may prove the toughest test of how well Bollore is evolving from dealmaker to sophisticated manager. He claims there are clear advantages to be gained from the potential synergies between Havas and Aegis.

Calling an extraordinary general meeting of Aegis later this year to press his claim again will be pointless unless he can persuasively spell out what those synergies are.

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