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Havas boss Yannick Bolloré: We have much to do on our own before we’d consider a merger

Yannick BolloréThe global boss of communications giant Havas has said that the company still has a lot of growing to do on its own before it would consider merging with another holding company.

In an interview with Mumbrella, Yannick Bolloré, the company’s CEO, said that for now Havas would “continue to focus on our own journey.”

Havas has been subject to rumours of a merger with a rival holding company such as IPG, particularly since the collapse of a proposed deal between Publicis Groupe and Omnicom.

“Look at the organic growth of a company like Havas, it’s the best in the industry,” Bolloré told Mumbrella in Phnom Penh. “And we still have a lot of things to do on our own. So for now, we will continue to focus on our own journey, and I can tell you that are things that we are working on that are very positive that will play out over the years to come.”

On potential acquisition targets in Asia in the future, Bolloré, who has just completed the acquisition of Riverorchid in Indochina, said that his firm is looking “seriously” at new companies to partner with after posting strong organic revenue numbers in May. Finding the right people to partner with is key, he said.

“The culture of Havas is a key element of our success, and we’re very cautious about the people we partner with. I believe that in acquisitions, one plus one never equals two. Our goal is to find a number above two and not below,” he said.

Bolloré said his biggest concern about the ad market is macro economic uncertainty concerning a slowdown in China. “Last month it was a mess, today it seems to be better. I don’t like rollercoasters,” he said.

Bolloré Group, led by Bolloré’s father Vincent, acquired a controlling share in Havas in October last year. That sale raised questions about whether Bolloré, who is one of France’s most powerful businessmen and runs media giant Vivendi, intends ultimately to offload Havas to a third party. Bollore Group has since tried to dampen speculation surrounding a future sale.

The company recently reported revenue growth of 7.1 per cent, up by 10.1 per cent to $40 million in Asia and Africa. Havas, which owns Havas Media and Havas Creative, formerly Euro RSCG, is one of the smaller global communications groups, ranking as the sixth largest in the world.

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