Vincent Bollore ups Aegis stake over 25%

MUMBAI: French financier and Havas Group chairman Vincent Bollore has upped his stake in the Aegis Group from 25 per cent to 25.05 per cent of the voting stock. The move, announced early this morning, has put Bollore at an advantage and gives him the power to veto an offer from another suitor.

The move comes as the WPP Group, Hellman & Friedman and potentially Bollore could not meet the Friday deadline to make an acceptable bid to acquire Aegis.

Aegis' board disclosed that WPP and H&F made an offer on 16 November that was "materially below" the $2.40 per share offer previously made by Publicis, which has now pulled out of the bidding for Aegis.



"In compliance with the rules in Britain, the Bollore Group has declared to the authorities that it acquired, via holding company Financiere Loch, 735,223 shares in Aegis on November 25, thus taking its total stake in Aegis's capital to 25.05 percent," the Bollore Group said a statement.

According to a media report, WPP and H&F said that they were attempting to form a new company that also would have involved a third stakeholder, presumably Bollore, that would have resulted in "an enhanced offer being made in excess" of Publicis' offer. WPP, which has pulled out of bidding for Aegis; however, said that it may re-enter the process of bidding.


Bollore, whose most recent acquisition gives him 25.05 per cent of Aegis' shares, has been quoted as saying that his investments were a "financial holding" and that he has no intention of acquiring Aegis.

According to Takeover Panel rules, Bollore can raise his stake to 29.9 per cent of Aegis before being required to make a bid and taking seats on its board.

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