Havas snaps up Lopex in £67m deal

Lopex, the PR and marketing services group snapped up by Havas Advertising for &£67m, is expected to achieve accelerated growth thanks to the backing of its new owner.

The all-cash bid, which trounced a hostile offer from public relations company Incepta, is part of Havas Advertising’s aggressive acquisition strategy to double in size within three years and become one of the top five global communications groups.

The company, 29.9 per cent of which is owned by Vivendi, has abandoned plans to merge with a US partner, but insists Vivendi will stay as a major shareholder.

The purchase of Lopex is seen as part of Havas Advertising’s plan to bolster its below-the-line resources to catch up with other major advertising and communications networks in this field. In the UK, Havas Advertising already owns the advertising agencies Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper and WCRS.

Jean-Michel Carlo, vice-president of Havas Advertising, told Marketing Week: “We are looking at making a serious acquisition before the end of the year.” He indicated that his areas of interest were interactive advertising, marketing services and corporate PR.

Carlo says there will be no redundancies or major management changes at Lopex, whose businesses include PR operation The Grayling Group, marketing services outfits MBO and Purchasepoint, the recruitment group Riley and DIA, a design company.

Lopex chief executive Peter Thomas says: “This gives us a chance to really accelerate our growth internationally.” Carlo confirms that Mediapolis, the joint media venture between Euro RSCG, WCRS and Young & Rubicam, will change its name to Media Planning following the merger last March of Havas Advertising’s media interests and Spanish independent Media Planning.

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