Havas Group

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Havas Group was for years France's biggest advertising organisation, until toppled by the phenomenal growth over the past two decades of arch-rival Publicis. It is now the last survivor of what was once a sizeable second tier of smaller international marketing organisations. Others such as Aegis, Grey and Saatchi & Saatchi had already been bought by larger marketing groups. Havas remained independent, before it too was acquired by media group Vivendi during 2017. At the same time, most of its main subsidiaries have been re-consolidated to form a single diversified offering under the banner of Havas Village. In the most significant such move, creative network Havas and media buyer Havas Media were combined in 2017 under a single management team. Several separate standalone units remain, not least renowned creative agency BETC and secondary US agency Arnold. The group's performance has stabilised after a rocky few years. Rapid and sometimes reckless expansion during the 1990s created serious problems after 2001. Despite a general recovery in the wider worldwide industry, Havas's billings and revenues continued to underperform rivals in the early 2000s, and this eventually led to the intervention of wealthy investor Vincent Bolloré, who seized control of the business in 2005. That change of ownership and renewed financial stability made a significant difference to the group, although Havas's size still made it vulnerable within the rapidly consolidating industry. As a result, as most observers had long anticipated, media group Vivendi, also controlled by Bolloré, assumed ownership of Havas during 2017. The business continues to operate as a distinct division within the wider group, but Vivendi's spread also offers multiple opportunities for cross-divisional partnership with siblings Universal Music and Canal+. It's now the third largest business within Vivendi with net revenues in 2020 of €2.1bn, and EBITDA of €121m. There are three principal divisions: Havas Creative (45% of revenues), Havas Media (32%) and Havas Health & You (23%). Yannick Bolloré, son of Vincent Bolloré, is chairman & CEO of Havas Group, as well as chairman of parent Vivendi.

Capsule checked 13th April 2021

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Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Adbrands Daily Update 2nd Aug 2021: Havas enjoyed a similar surge in performance during 2Q to that enjoyed by rival marketing groups. The organic increase in net revenues was 15.3%, with all regions reporting a significant increase, led by Europe - up 19.6% - and North America - 10.2%. The reported figure for the quarter was €529m. That was up strongly on the previous year but slightly below pre-Covid 2Q 2019 when net revenues came in at €536m. Net revenues for the first half of 2021 were €1.05bn, with EBITDA of €87m. That compares with €1.11bn in 1H 2019 and EBITDA €121m.

Adbrands Daily Update 23rd Apr 2021: Havas delivered what it described as "better than expected" performance in Q1, coming close to positive growth. Total revenues including rebillable costs were positive, but the net figure of €478m represented an organic decline of -0.8%. Unlike most rivals whose biggest market is North America, Havas derives the largest share (almost 49%) of revenues from Europe, which was back in the black at modest 0.3% growth. North America (39% of revenues) was down by another -1.6%.

Adbrands Daily Update 3rd Mar 2021: Havas posted an improved performance for 4Q 2020 with the decline in organic revenues slowing to -7.5%. That puts it behind Publicis and Interpublic, but ahead of Omnicom, Dentsu and MDC Partners. (WPP reports next week). For the full year, the decline was -9.9%. Reported figure for the year was €2.05bn, with EBITA of €121m. The group's best performing market was North America where the full year decline was -4.0%. However, Europe, still Havas's most important region was down -12.7%.

Adbrands Daily Update 21st Oct 2020: Havas had another difficult quarter in 3Q but an organic decline of -10.4% to net revenues of €472m was at least a significant improvement on the previous period. North America was less badly affected at -7.2% than Europe, down -12.2%.

Adbrands Daily Update 31st Jul 2020: Havas took a sizeable hit from the Covid pandemic during 2Q, with revenues falling by -18.3% on an organic basis. The reported figure was €470m. However, as a wholly owned division of Vivendi, the group was partly insulated from the full impact of that by greater resilience elsewhere in the group, notably in Unversal Music and Canal+. Vivendi as a whole was down -7.9% organic. Havas suffered its worst performance during the quarter in Europe, still its biggest market overall. Organic decline there was -22.9% for 2Q, compared to -8.0% in North America. For the full first half, Havas's EBITDA slumped by a little over half to €46m.

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