Vincent Bolloré’s machinations usually conclude with the Bolloré coffers even more full than before but the French magnate (below), owner of Havas and the biggest shareholder in and chairman of French media giant Vivendi, has suffered a reverse at the hands of French video game publisher Ubisoft.
Ubisoft moved its media account from WPP agencies to Havas in July but has now gone scuttling back to WPP following Vivendi’s purchase of more shares – it now has over ten per cent – and demands for a seat on the board.
Ubisoft is a biggish media account, spending £16m in the UK where it returns to WPP’s Maxus, although not that huge in the wider Bolloré scheme of things. But Havas, even though it’s performing well under Vincent’s son Yannick, isn’t awash with international business so this loss will sting.
It’s the second abrupt media reverse for Havas recently. Last week it emerged that Havas-owned Arena Media had lost new account Virgin Atlantic to Omnicom’s PHD, just a month after winning it. This was supposedly due to Havas/Arena’s failure to resolve a client conflict issue.
As Oscar Wilde’s Lady Bracknell almost put it: “To lose one media account, Mr Bolloré, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness.”
Now Havas has lost Magners media, also to PHD. Even Oscar would be lost for words.