Bollore profits handsomely in Aegis takeover

DESPITE his failed attempts to merge Aegis with ad agency Havas, French businessman Vincent Bolloré will no doubt be pleased with the £3.2bn sale to Dentsu announced yesterday.

The Japanese company said it will buy most of Bolloré’s 26.4 per cent stake in Aegis, which the investor has been building up since 2005.

WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell called the deal “another trading coup for [Vincent] Bolloré,” who agreed to sell 15 per cent of his Aegis holding to Dentsu for 420p per share, or a total of £422m, regardless of whether the takeover offer gets the green light.

He will also offload another five per cent at the same price, pocketing £140.7m – leaving the French tycoon with a 6.4 per cent stake which will earn him a further £180.8m if the acquisition is approved.

Bolloré has said he will vote in favour of the deal at the shareholder meeting on 16 August.

The Paris-born businessman was unsuccessful in his attempts to win a seat on the Aegis board, stating openly that he intended to bring the British firm closer to French agency Havas, where he is chairman and the largest shareholder.

However, Bolloré has since called his Aegis holding a strategic investment, fuelling speculation he would be open to selling down his stake.

The multi-billion deal will also be good news for Harold Mitchell, who joined Aegis when it bought his marketing firm Mitchell Communication Group for £208m in 2010.

Australia-born Mitchell owns a 3.9 per cent stake in the British ad agency and stands to pocket £112.3m if the Dentsu takeover is approved.