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Havas Shares Rise Most in 19 Months on Buyback: Paris Mover

Billionaire Vincent Bollore
Billionaire Vincent Bollore. Photographer: Fabrice Dimier/Bloomberg

Havas SA, the French advertising company controled by billionaire Vincent Bollore, rose the most in about 19 months after saying on March 23 that it would buy back 12 percent of its shares.

The shares rose as much as 9.6 percent, the biggest intraday gain since September 2009, and traded 8.3 percent higher at 4.39 euros as of 9:12 a.m. in Paris. The stock was the biggest gainer on the SBF120 index.

After the close of trading March 23, Havas said it has filed with the regulators its plan to back the shares at 4.90 euros a share, or a premium of 21 percent over the 4.05 euros price on that day.

Havas, which is spending 253 million euros ($336 million), on the exercise, said the buyback will boost its 2011 earnings per shares by 10.8 percent.

The buyback suggests a largescale acquisition is too pricey, Nomura Securities said. The buyback comes after Havas on March 1 announced a dividend on 11 euro sents a share.

After the transaction, Bollore’s stake in Havas will rise to 37.32 percent from 32.84 percent, although the Chairman of the Bollore holding company will not participate in the buyback, Havas said.

In a separate statement, local markets regulator AMF said Bollore was exempt from a requirement to offer to buy all of Havas shares, contrary to usual procedure when a single shareholder’s stake climbs above a third of a company’s capital.

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