Havas Seeks Takeovers to Spur Asia-Pacific Growth, Jones Says

Havas SA, owner of the Euro RSCG Worldwide advertising agency, is seeking Asia-Pacific takeovers and expects revenue from the region to more than triple to as much as 20 percent of the total in five years.

Havas is in the process of completing a medium-sized deal, David Jones, chief executive officer of Havas Worldwide and Euro RSCG, said in an interview in Singapore today. The purchase will be completed in the next few months, he said, declining to be more specific.

“For us, Asia is a priority,” Jones said. “You are not only seeing a huge number of new businesses spring up in Asia, but you are actually seeing Asian companies take control of some of the big global businesses.”

Revenue from Asia Pacific now accounts for about 5 percent to 6 percent of the total, Jones said. The region will become the largest advertising market soon after 2014 as the economic slowdown in North America accelerated the shift of ad dollars to digital media in China, India and Brazil, eMarketer Inc. and Starcom MediaVest Group said in a report earlier this month.

Havas’s main focus areas for acquisitions are in the healthcare business and digital media, which includes social media and search companies, Jones said. The company also aims to expand in Latin America, he said.

“We are looking at $10 million to $20 million businesses around the world and that’s probably our sweet spot,” he said. The company tends to aim for more than a 50 percent stake, he said.

In the next couple of years, Havas aims to have revenues of more than 10 percent from Asia Pacific, and increase that to 15 percent to 20 percent in five years, Jones said. Currently, the company gets about 5 percent to six percent from the region.

To contact the reporter on the story: Chan Sue Ling in Singapore slchan@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anand Krishnamoorthy at anandk@bloomberg.net

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