New-style Havas reports strong Q2 growth

Can Havas disturb the holding company top table of WPP, Omnicom, Interpublic and French rival Publicis? (We’ll leave Dentsu out of it for now as it’s even more of a mystery.)

Now a bigger part of Vivendi than before after Vivendi unloaded Universal Music, Havas surprised the ad world by buying the UK’s Uncommon Creative Studio for a figure of up to £120m (contingent on what’s likely to be a pretty stiff earn-out) and now it’s reported 6.3% organic growth in the second quarter of 2023, up from a disappointing 1.9% in Q1. Vivendi as a whole was up 3.2%.

Havas has also bought three other agencies: Noise in Canada, HRZN in Germany and Pivot Roots in India.

Havas CEO and Vivendi chairman Yannick Bolloré says: “Vivendi is steadfastly pursuing its internationalisation strategy and strengthening its position as a leading global player in culture and entertainment.” Havas expanded in all geographical regions.

There has been speculation in France that cash-rich Vivendi might try to buy long-term rival Publicis. Publicis has firmly knocked this back (it too has a big family ownership) and, as the best-performing ad holding company with growth so far this year of 7.3%, is more likely to be a buyer than a seller.

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