Vincent Bollore's so-called "charm offensive" on Aegis top brass came to a juddering halt this week. First, the Havas chairman got stuck in City traffic, forcing the media group's board to delay the start of an extraordinary general meeting. Then, his call for boardroom representation was rejected for a second time.
An impatient and frustrated Bollore immediately called attendant journalists to a hastily arranged press conference, where he vowed to maintain the pressure on Aegis until it caved in.
Fifty-eight per cent of Aegis shareholders voted against Bollore's boardroom nominees, Roger Hatchuel and Philippe Germond - the same percentage that opposed the election of the pair at the Aegis annual meeting in June.
Lord Sharman, the Aegis chairman, hailed the result as a clear message that the nominee directors would have an irreconcilable conflict of interest due to Bollore's interests in Havas, and called on him to respect the outcome.
However, Bollore made it clear he would be doing no such thing and would be exercising his right to call for another EGM to be held within the next three months.
And he intimated he would be prepared to force more EGMs until he got his way. Asked if he would now consider a takeover bid for Aegis, in which he holds a 29 per cent stake, he replied: "All our options are open."
Bollore claims Hatchuel and Germond would act independently.
- Comment, page 44.