Havas silent on revising bid for Tempus

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The French advertising group Havas yesterday kept silent on whether it will revise its bid for Tempus, the UK media buying company that received a £437m counter bid from rival WPP, as it reported underlying growth in first-half revenue of 5.5 per cent.

Havas's figures came a day after WPP, the advertising services giant, reported its interim revenues showed a 3 per cent underlying gain.

The French group's trading statement underlined how badly it needs Tempus, for which it has offered £425m, to build scale in the fast consolidating global advertising industry. Though Havas ranks number five world-wide, its interim sales, which grew 47 per cent to 1.1bn euros (£680m) on the back of acquisitions, are one-third of the levels of the top three players: WPP, Omincom and Interpublic.

As Alain de Pouzilhac, the chief executive of Havas, kept investors guessing about the timing of a new offer, it was unclear how he would deal with Sir Martin Sorrell, the chief executive of WPP. Asked whether Mr De Pouzilhac would make a direct approach to Sir Martin to secure a deal, an advisor to Havas said: "People have talked about that. It's not top of the agenda at the moment."

The share price of Havas, which extended its offer for Tempus to 3 September, rallied 2.8 per cent to 10.69 euros, improving the terms of its share-backed alternative for Tempus.