Europe’s biggest media buying agency, Carat, has become a takeover
target after it was announced last week that more than a third of the
shares in its holding company, Aegis, will be up for grabs at the end of
The news that three of Aegis’s largest shareholders are intending to
sell their stakes could pave the way for a full takeover bid for the
dollars 7 billion-billing company.
The shares are being sold by two venture capital companies, Warburg
Pincus and Electra Private Equity Partners, and by France’s Gross
The stockbroker, Cazenove, is seeking potential buyers for the shares -
36.5 per cent of the total - and has been instructed to offer them to a
broad base of investors. However, analysts say the sale is an
opportunity for a predator to move in on the company by offering a
premium above the price, which is to be announced early next month.
As Europe’s largest media buying company, Aegis is likely to prove
attractive to any of the big agency networks, including Interpublic, WPP
and Omnicom, particularly those with a strong US base.
Aegis’s chief executive, Crispin Davis, dismissed speculation that the
sale would spark a takeover bid, saying any hostile move would be
ill-advised because of the risk it would pose to agency-client
’Management support is crucial,’ he added.