Post PubliCom merger ripples are still being felt all over the place and my spies in the Far East are busy speculating – over the clink of their properly made gin and tonics in the Raffles Hotel – that a deal may be afoot between Dentsu/Aegis and Havas.
Dentsu has just re-financed most of the costs of its £3.2bn acquisition of global media buyer Aegis but still finds itself a little light in the creative stakes. Its main creative brand (apart from Dentsu itself of course) is US-based Mcgarrybowen and that’s starting from a long way back in both Europe and the Far East.
Havas, 37 per cent owned by Vincent Bollore (left) and family, is seriously outgunned now in France and elsewhere by PubliCom (a combination of ancient French rival Publicis and Omnicom). Publicis has spent heavily on Chinese and other Asian acquisitions in recent years, a big part of its attraction to Omnicom which hasn’t.
But Havas, which is headed by CEO David Jones, has three creative networks to conjure with: Havas (formerly Euro RSCG), Arnold Worldwide (which it just about is) and BETC which has recently expanded successfully into London from its Paris fastness.
Havas owner Bollore has repeatedly stated his commitment to independence (as has Jones) and recently moved two of his sons into key roles in the organisation. But Bollore has many other interests besides and may be attracted by some kind of deal with Dentsu.