Board members of French advertising and PR firm Havas are willing to accept an offer from existing shareholder Bollore Group for total control of their business.
Reports suggest the Havas board of directors has voted in favour of a proposed tender offer which was mooted last month.
The move is being pursued by Bollore Group owner Vincent Bollore, who according to Forbes has a net worth of $7.2 billion. A statement from Bollore in October claimed that an all-share offer for Havas highlights his confidence in the latter’s strategy as an independent group.
Bollore Group’s current stake in Havas stands at 36%.
Havas looks ahead
Things are currently looking bright for Havas, which managed to reel in €415 million worth of net new business in Q3.
Bollore described the company’s organic growth of 5.8% during the first nine months of the year as “highly satisfactory” – this despite business in France rising just 2.8% in Q3 compared to Q2, highlighting slight concerns on home soil.
Following Bollore’s tender offer, the Havas board is reported to have agreed that his own company, an investment and industrial holding group with turnover of over €10.2 billion last year, is in the right position to take the business forward.
Details regarding the exact proportion of members that agreed to the move remain scarce. French-based financial services firm Sorgem Evaluation was appointed to present the leaders with a report to outline Bollore’s offer.
An agreement is said to have taken place among the 14 members of the board, which is made up of three representatives from Bollore Group. Accusations of potential bias have remained clear from the picture in the fact that six of the group are independent.
Growth in key markets slows
While the deal awaits an estimated date for completion, Havas representatives will be left pondering how Bollore and his financial backing will be able to pull the company out of a rough patch in Europe.
Havas reported a 6.7% lift in growth across the continent in Q3, marking a slight decrease from the 8% reported in Q2. It may be that attention will need to be paid to operations in France and the UK, though, as quarter-on-quarter growth in Europe when excluding the pair stood at 9.4%.
The group was also keen to point out that a negative change in exchange rates had led to a €22 million hit so far in 2014.