NEWS16 April 2007

Bolloré to make fourth Aegis board bid

Nominees put forward again for upcoming AGM despite triple defeat

The Bolloré Group is making a fourth bid for representation on the board of Aegis, the media and MR group that owns Synovate.

Vincent Bolloré’s investment group has once again put forward its nominees for election at Aegis’ AGM on 25 May, despite opposition from the board.

Bolloré’s nominees – former Alcatel boss Philippe Germond and ex-Cannes Lions chairman Roger Hatchuel – were rejected by shareholders for the third time in ten months at an extraordinary general meeting on 4 April.

With almost 30% of shares, Bolloré is Aegis’ largest shareholder, but he is also the chairman and largest shareholder of the Havas Group, which owns Aegis’ rival the Media Planning Group. The Aegis board has repeatedly opposed Bolloré’s bids for representation, on the grounds of a conflict of interest.

At this month’s EGM, the Bolloré nominees won 43.7% of votes, up from 41.5% at the previous vote in November. According to Aegis, 93% of votes not controlled by the Bolloré Group were cast against.

In a statement following the vote, the Bolloré Group said: “The improved results support the group’s belief that, over time, it will persuade other shareholders that its requests are normal and reasonable and that its nominees will be elected to the board.”

But today Aegis chairman Colin Sharman said: “We regret Groupe Bolloré’s continuing disregard for the views of other shareholders… We hope that Groupe Bolloré will come to respect the firm views of the other shareholders on the right corporate governance for Aegis.”

The board of Aegis said in a statement that its functioning would be “unacceptably compromised” if a competitor were to appoint representatives, and that board members should represent all shareholders, rather than favouring any one in particular.

Author: Robert Bain

Related links:

Bolloré gets third ‘no’ vote from Aegis shareholders

Second defeat for Bolloré’s Aegis board ambitions

Aegis shareholders thwart Bolloré board bid

Bolloré hits back at Aegis board snub with new share buy