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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Evening Administrator

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

Guru Careers: Executive Assistant / PA

£30 - 35k + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Executive Assist...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable