Havas acquires French indie Buzzman as it continues to push entertainment offer

Chérif (left) was swayed by Bolloré’s (right) allowance of autonomy

Havas Group has bolstered its creative offer by purchasing a 51% stake in the Parisian independent shop Buzzman.

The deal will see the 140-strong Buzzman team slot into Havas’ creative division as standalone agency brand. Founder Georges Mohammed-Chérif will continue to run the shop out of its offices in the 10th Arrondissement of Paris.

The group did not respond to The Drum's request for financial details at the time of writing.

The transaction comes as Havas continues to position itself as an agency partner at the intersection of marketing and entertainment.

Since signing into the Vivendi fold the holding co has been dangling its connections with the likes of Universal Music and Gameloft in front of new business prospects. Buzzman, which is known for creating quirky digital content for the likes of Burger King and Oreo, will further plug the gap between the two disciplines.

“Georges was one of the earliest advertising pioneers to seize on the amazing opportunities that digital has to offer,” said Yannick Bolloré, chairman and chief executive of Havas. "This deal ties in perfectly with our determination to position Havas at the convergence of communications and entertainment since becoming part of Vivendi.”

Mohammed-Chérif added Buzzman had been the “target of repeated approaches” from other groups for a number of years, but had taken up Havas’ offer because of Bolloré’s willingness to protect the agency’s independence.

“The one non-negotiable condition for joining the Havas Group was maintaining our autonomy,” he said. “We will now be able to take advantage of the synergies offered by the network and expand the field of opportunities, while holding fast to Buzzman’s recipe for success from the outset: exacting standards, outspokenness and boldness.”

The deal further represents a renewed confidence among the big six holding company groups, which had slowed M&A activity “substantially” in Q1. It comes weeks after Publicis' purchase of US agency Rauxa; meanwhile the Financial Times recently reported WPP’s plans to ramp up acquisitions again after relinquishing more than 40 businesses since April 2018.

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