Aegis reviews business strategy

Aegis is understood to be considering plans to either spin off Synovate, its market research arm, or forge closer ties with its largest shareholder Vincent Bolloré (pictured).

The independent media company is reported to have approached investment bank Merrill Lynch to carry out a strategic review of the business.

The move comes after the departure of chief executive Robert Lerwill, who was ousted in November amid rumours of a boardroom fall-out.

John Napier, the chairman and interim chief executive, has close ties with Merrill Lynch and is understood to favour a change in strategy.

Lerwill, who headed Aegis for almost four years, was against breaking the company up through the sale of Synovate, and he had also resisted attempts by Bolloré to appoint his own directors to the Aegis board.

Bolloré, who owns almost 30% of Aegis and is chairman of rival advertising group Havas, has argued for stronger links between the two groups and has previously been tipped to launch a takeover of Aegis.

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