Home Marketing Bolloré: If Vivendi Spins Off Havas, It Won’t Be Via a Sale

Bolloré: If Vivendi Spins Off Havas, It Won’t Be Via a Sale

Bolloré: If Vivendi Spins Off Havas, It Won’t Be Via a Sale


Havas Group is on the brink of potential change as its parent company, Vivendi, contemplates spinning off the growing advertising network as its own public entity.

If the project were to go through—and it’s not confirmed yet—Havas would be listed as a public company in its own right, a move Havas’ chairman and CEO, Yannick Bolloré, believes will increase Havas’ shareholder prices.

“It will allow us to continue to develop, to have more financial agility, and I believe it could be a new, very exciting chapter for Havas,” Bolloré said.

Vivendi announced its 2023 fiscal results last week, which showed that Havas’ net organic revenue grew by 4.4%, compared to 2022. Its net revenue reached almost 2.7 billion euros.

Relative to its holding company competitors, the growth places Havas second only to Publicis Groupe.

“It’s funny because Havas is certainly the oldest group in advertising—created in 1835. But as we are smaller than the others, I would say, we have had to adapt and to be more innovative if we wanted to stay in the race,” Bolloré said.

A global player with outsized growth in Mexico

Havas competes for its largest accounts in Mexico, France and Spain, where it’s one of the top holding groups. The U.S. market, by contrast, makes up a smaller portion of the group’s revenue. International business drives some of Havas’ growth, especially in Latin America.

“They don’t have any large accounts in the U.S. They’re competing in a very different nature, but they also have globally capable people,” said Brian Wieser, industry analyst and CEO of the consultancy Madison and Wall. “The fact is that Latin America’s been a tailwind for a lot of agency groups—and [Havas] is big in Mexico.”

The group also went on an acquisition spree in 2023, bringing 10 new agencies into the fold.

Those acquisitions included Uncommon, a highly regarded independent creative agency in the U.K. Other acquisitions spanned India, Germany, Canada, Australia, Singapore and the U.S.

Bolloré is considering going public—not a sale

The leader is considering the pivot to rightsize Havas’ share price, which is generally considered undervalued.

In 2017, the holding group acquired the Bolloré Group’s remaining 59.2% stake in Havas. Bolloré has been at the helm since 2013 and sits on Vivendi’s board.

Right now, Bolloré is focused on the potential public listing and dispelled rumors that Vivendi will sell to another holding group or consultancy.

“If we wanted to sell Havas to another player, it would be easier to sell it while not listed. It’s easier to acquire an unlisted company,” said Bolloré. “If we wanted to sell Havas, it would be easier to sell it right now while it’s private than when it’s public,” he added.