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Vivendi Acquires 60% Stake in Havas for $2.5 Billion

Vivendi, the parent company of Universal Music Group and Canal Plus Group, has acquired a 60% stake in Havas, a leading advertising and communication group, from Bolloré Group for an estimated 2.3 billion euros ($2.5 billion).

The deal valued Havas, which is listed on the Paris stock market and is believed to be the world’s sixth biggest advertising and communication group, at a premium 9.25 euros a share. Havas is currently under the leadership of chief executive Yannick Bolloré, who is the son of Vincent Bolloré (pictured), the chairman and dominant shareholder of Vivendi. Vincent and Yannick Bolloré are also together at the helm of Bolloré Group as president/CEO and vice chairman, respectively.

The deal requires approval from France’s anti-trust board.

Vivendi said it would next launch a simplified tender offer on the remaining Havas shares and is expected to merge with Havas. Vincent Bolloré also said last week during Vivendi’s shareholders’ meeting that Yannick Bolloré would eventually take control of Vivendi.

“This acquisition marks a major milestone in our drive to build a global leader in content, media, and communication. It gives our group a unique positioning and a major advantage in an environment marked by the ever-increasing convergence between content, distribution, and communication,” said Arnaud de Puyfontaine, CEO of Vivendi.

“Havas brings its expertise in consumer science, data analytics, and new creative formats to the entire Vivendi group. Most importantly, our two companies have gotten to know one another well and our teams enjoy working together, essential keys to success in the creative and innovative industries, which rely on a wealth of talent.”

Vivendi said the pricing of 9.25 euros per share was based on “the last quoted share price” and several criteria, such as “the operational performance of the Havas Group compared to its peers in recent financial years, the historical level of the Havas share price, the midterm perspectives. Vivendi pointed out the global advertising sector was expected to be marked by “uncertainties in organic growth and profitability.”

Yannick Bolloré said Vivendi would give Havas “new strategic and financial resources to enrich [the company’s] expertise” and “broader opportunities for [its] talents.”

Aside from his position at Havas, Yannick Bolloré is also the co-founder of WY Productions, which produced Roman Polanski’s “Based on a True Story,” an out-of-competition selection at the Cannes Film Festival last month.

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