Vivendi deal for Havas creates new adland giant

The ad world now has a big new player, French music to Canal+ operator Vivendi which is buying the Bolloré family’s 60 per cent stake in Havas in a €2.3bn cash deal. Vivendi, led by paterfamilias Vincent (below with sons Cyrille and Havas’ Yannick, right) will bid for the rest in due course but may find he has to pay more than the nine per cent premium he’s paid already.

But the Vivendi Havas deal is a sign not just that scale is deemed important but that advertising and all the other marcoms bits are now seen as subsidiary activities of consultancy and, in Vivendi’s case, entertainment.

The Vivendi deal is not dissimilar to Hollywood’s William Morris Entertainment buying into US agency Droga5 a few years back, a deal that, so far, doesn’t seem to have produced the synergies promised.

But this is the new ad landscape and the likes of Publicis Groupe and Interpublic in particular will now be on the takeover menu of Accenture, the other consultancies and, possibly, the likes of IBM which has forged a lead in applying AI to marketing. The most obvious one to buy is Anomaly owner MDC, worth less than $1bn.

WPP probably won’t be on such a list as it’s so big and one can hardly see boss Sir Martin Sorrell (often, wrongly, accused of being an accountant himself) succumbing easily to the likes of Accenture or Deloitte. Biggest rival Omnicom did, though, try to merge with Publicis a few years back so it, too, may be being sized up.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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