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 2021 of €2.2bn, and EBITDA of €239m. 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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Havas's quarterly organic growth since 2016 (subscribers only)

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Who are the competitors of Havas? See ranking of Leading Global Marketing Groups

Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Adbrands Update 16th May 2022: With all results now in, Stagwell delivered the industry's best performance for the quarter with organic growth of 23.6%. Omnicom was the best of the majors at 11.9%, followed by Interpublic at 11.5% and Havas at 11.4%. A little way behind was Publicis (despite its string of account wins) with 10.5%, followed by WPP at 9.5% and then Dentsu with 9.1%.

Adbrands Update 26th Apr 2022: Havas reported a strong result for Q1 2022, with organic growth of 11.4% (almost a full percentage point above Publicis) to a reported net total of €564m. Europe was the best performer at 12.4% while North America was up 9.0%. See Havas's quarterly organic growth since 2016 (subscribers only)

Adbrands Update 10th Mar 2022: Havas was the last of the major marketing groups to report performance for 2021. Reported revenues for Q4 were €670m - a best-ever result - lifting the year to €2.24bn. Organic performance for the final quarter was 9.3%, placing the group in joint last place among major marketing groups alongside Publicis. The full year figure was 10.4%. With all figures now in, Dentsu headed the rankings table by organic growth in Q4 at 14.2%, followed by Interpublic at 11.7%. Stagwell comes next at 11.3% followed by WPP at 10.8%, Omnicom at 9.5% and finally Publicis and Havas both at 9.3%. Most observers might wonder how Publicis - given its seemingly endless catalogue of account gains in recent months - has managed to end up with the industry's lowest organic growth metric for this quarter. The answer can only be that Publicis is gaining billings at the cost of organic revenue growth; in other words, by undercutting rival groups in the fees it charges.

Adbrands Daily Update 22nd Oct 2021: Havas jumped unexpectedly to the top of the class among marketing groups for organic growth in Q3. A surge of 17.8% beat all three groups who have reported so far, including countrymate Publicis. The group's two key markets of Europe and North America were up over 18% and 15% repsectively. However, reported net revenues of €560m for the quarter were still marginally below the €567m reported in 3Q 2019. See Havas's quarterly organic growth since 2016 (subscribers only)

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%.

More on Havas from Adbrands Weekly Update


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