Aegis approach was ignored, says adviser

Doughty Hanson's adviser on its attempt to buy Aegis's Synovate business claims Aegis shareholders were incredulous when they learnt that the £600m approach had been ignored.

Anthony Gahan, the co-founder of Wyvern Partners, said he had contacted Aegis's major institutional investors over the past week to tell them about his efforts to get the communications group into talks on Synovate.

Mr Gahan said: "I think the shareholder response was entirely rational and focused on extracting maximum value from the assets and being surprised that no engagement had taken place with potential bidders. There was a level of incredulity."

He declined to name the investors, but major shareholders in Aegis includes blue-chip names such as Legal & General, Standard Life and Aviva.

He said Wyvern, a boutique corporate adviser, had been sizing up Synovate for 18 months before making an approach on 26 May on behalf of Doughty Hanson, the private equity group.

That approach, to Aegis's chief executive, Jerry Buhlmann, indicated that Wyvern's client was prepared to pay well over £500m for the Synovate market research business, according to Mr Gahan. He said the email went unacknowledged.

Aegis said in early June that it was in exclusive talks with the French company Ipsos to sell Synovate for a price said to be about £520m. Wyvern then wrote to Aegis's board on 23 June and soon afterwards offered to reveal who its client was if Aegis was "willing to engage", but there was no further contact, Mr Gahan said.

He said there appeared to be no effort made to test the market value of Synovate on behalf of shareholders.

Aegis declined to comment yesterday. The company is thought to be unwilling to enter a public spat over Synovate now that it is in exclusive talks with Ipsos. Aegis and Ipsos have stressed that talks over Synovate are at an early stage.

A key player in any decision over Synovate will be Vincent Bolloré, the French investor who owns 26.5 per cent of Aegis. Mr Bolloré could not block the deal, but his blessing will still be needed.

A deal with Ipsos could leave a leaner Aegis open to a buyer. More than two years ago, there was speculation that Aegis might combine with Havas, the French marketing group in which Mr Bolloré is also the biggest investor.

Mr Bolloré has said he has cooled on the idea of a merger between the groups and that his stake in Aegis is financial rather than strategic.

Doughty Hanson's last deal was the £450m buy-out of Vue Entertainment, the cinema group, in November.

Aegis shares fell 3.6p, or 2.8 per cent, to 154.6p. The company yesterday announced a deal to buy MediaVest, a media communications agency, for up to £95m.

Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
Sir Chris Hoy won six Olympic golds - in which four events?
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Graduate Recruitment Resourcers - Banking Technologies

£18000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Huxley Associates are looking...

Associate Recruitment Consultant - IT

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Computer Futures has been est...

Business Analyst

£300 - £350 per day: Orgtel: Job Title: Business Analyst Rate: £300 - £350 per...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform