Havas Urges Shareholders to Veto Bolloré

BOSTON Havas today urged shareholders to vote against a request made last week by investor Vincent Bolloré to place himself and three members of his management team on the holding company’s board of directors.

In a statement, Havas said its board unanimously recommends the veto because Bolloré has failed to make his long-term intentions clear, “particularly regarding strategy,” and has not put forth a plan to increase “the potential for value creation for Havas shares.”

Havas’ next shareholders meeting is scheduled for June 9.

In additon to himself, Bolloré is seeking seats for Thierry Marraud, Marc Bebon and Cedric de Bailliencourt [Adweek Online, April 22].

Havas currently has 13 directors; the company this month proposed three new members: Laurence Pairsot, president of the French Institute of Public Opinion and a member of EuroDisney’s supervisory board; Michel Rouger, honorary president of the Paris Commercial Court; and Pierre Bouchut, former CEO of Groupe Casino. It also proposed renewing the directorships of three other board members.

Bolloré, who owns more than 20 percent of Havas, in December said he would seek seats, but he has also said he has no immediate plan to attempt a corporate takeover.

Bolloré representatives could not immediately be reached.

Paris-based Havas is parent to Arnold, Euro RSCG and Media Planning Group.