Havas shares surge on rumour of Bollore buy up

30th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 30 (AFP) - Havas shares rose sharply on Friday amid market rumours that a big French business investor, Vincent Bollore, was about to buy up to five percent of the advertising group in support of its bid to acquire the US advertising agency Grey Global.

PARIS, July 30 (AFP) - Havas shares rose sharply on Friday amid market rumours that a big French business investor, Vincent Bollore, was about to buy up to five percent of the advertising group in support of its bid to acquire the US advertising agency Grey Global.

The Bollore group said later that it had acquired 4.0-5.0 percent of the capital but that its holding was less than 5.0 percent. Havas was not available for comment.

At noon, Havas shares were trading at EUR 3.91, a rise of 4.83 percent on Thursday's close while Bollore stock was stable at EUR 256. Havas's rival Publicis saw its share fall by 0.84 percent to EUR 22.43.

Rumours of Bollore's interest in Havas, the world's sixth-largest advertising group, followed a report in Friday's Financial Times that Havas was in talks with a US private investment firm, Quadrangle, to acquire Grey.

A spokesman for Havas refused to comment, saying "We are bound by a confidentiality agreement," but a source close to the negotiations told AFP that the report was "well founded".

The Financial Times said that Havas initiated talks with Quadrangle after the failure of discussions with another US firm, Hellman and Friedman, about financing a bid for Grey.

The Financial Times said industry watchers were sceptical that Grey would fetch the USD 1.3 billion that its chief executive, Ed Meyer, was reportedly seeking.

Havas chairman and chief executive Alain de Pouzilhac told reporters early this week that the group had "financial partners who are prepared to invest in a good bargain".

One analyst said, however, that "the stock market was worried about how Havas was going to finance the acquisition and Havas's share price suffered as a result".

The possible involvement of Bollore had "calmed fears" and was "a very positive piece of news for Havas", he said.

The French daily Le Figaro reported on Friday that Bollore was about to buy between four and five percent of Havas, but gave no source for its information.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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