4.5% Growth for Havas, the Vivendi Subsidiary


Le Figaro 

By Philippe Larroque


The Vivendi subsidiary, which has been headed by Yannick Bolloré for the past ten years, posted growth of 4.5% in the third quarter.


Yannick Bolloré couldn’t have asked for better. In his tenth year at the helm of the French group Havas, the Vivendi subsidiary’s third-quarter results are the crowning achievement of his strategic plan to promote a “fully integrated” agency model, bringing together all communications businesses. After an already very strong second quarter (+6.3%), Havas published on Thursday organic growth of 4.5% for the financial year ending September 30, with net income of €654 million. Over the first nine months of the year, organic growth was 4.3%. “Against a complex economic and geopolitical backdrop, our business remained buoyant, with our teams working hard,” says Yannick Bolloré. “All our businesses and all our geographical areas are progressing”. North America, which generates 40% of its business, recorded growth of 3%, Asia-Pacific 2% and Europe 1.5%. The communications group is experiencing “a strong growth trajectory” in Latin America, particularly in Mexico, with growth accelerating to +51.1% compared to the third quarter of 2022.


A steady pace of acquisitions


These solid results, higher than those of Anglo-Saxon competitors but slightly lower than those of Publicis (+5.3%), are also being driven by acquisitions, which are continuing at a sustained pace. After nine acquisitions in 2022, the Group has already completed six since the start of 2023. “True to our entrepreneurial and creative approach, Havas has acquired a 51% majority stake in Uncommon, the UK’s most awarded independent creative agency. At the same time, we continued to develop the H/Advisors network of public affairs and strategic communications consultancies with the acquisitions of Australian Public Affairs (APA) in Australia and Cunha Vaz & Associados (CV&A) in Portugal. Finally, Havas has strengthened its presence in Canada with Noise, in Germany with HRZN and in India with Pivot Roots”, adds the CEO of Havas.


Focus on retail media and AI


The Group’s dynamic growth, which has attracted new clients such as KFC, Gifi, Shell and Danone for all its advertising creation worldwide, is also being driven by investments in retail media – “destined to become the second most invested medium behind digital but ahead of television” – and artificial intelligence (AI). “The recent partnership between Havas and Mirakl will create the largest independent retail media network for brands and retailers”, insists Yannick Bolloré. A few weeks ago, Havas also announced an extension of its agreement with Adobe to deploy its generative AI tools in all its agencies.


“Canal+ and Havas have demonstrated the relevance of the transformation and internationalisation initiatives we have implemented with them in recent years”

– Yannick Bolloré and Arnaud de Puyfontaine


While the US and UK communications giants are beginning to feel the first signs of a slowdown in investment from the tech giants, Havas seems to be protected by a “balanced” portfolio of advertisers. “Our clients’ results have so far been very good”, notes the CEO. To offer them “new personalised experiences”, Havas is preparing to launch a new international network in the very near future, focused on “custom experience”. Called “Havas CX”, it will incorporate CRM (customer relationship management) disciplines. This network focusing on “marketing around customer data” is on the hunt for its future boss.

Vivendi’s third-quarter results were boosted by the “good performance” of both Havas and Canal+, whose business grew by 5.7%, with Studiocanal in particular posting a strong 23.6% increase. Sales for the group owned by the Bolloré family rose by 2.5% over the period, to more than €2.4 billion. “Canal+ and Havas have demonstrated the relevance of the transformation and internationalisation measures we have implemented with them in recent years”, commented Yannick Bolloré and Arnaud de Puyfontaine, respectively Chairman of the Supervisory Board and Chairman of Vivendi’s Management Board.