Havas buys majority share in Host

By By Wenlei Ma | 20 July 2011

Independent advertising agency Host has ended months of speculation and sold a 51% share to Havas Worldwide.

Host will continue to operate under its current management, including founder and chief executive Anthony Freedman, and will keep its name while Havas executives, including global chief executive David Jones, will join Host's board.

Jones said: "It's a very strategic acquisition sitting at the intersection of creativity, digital and Asia-Pacific. They are Australia's largest independent agency, a brilliant creative agency, totally in line with our digital at the core model - over 30% of their revenue is digital - and after the acquisition of Porda it further increases the percentage of revenue coming from APAC".

"We have no interest in changing a thing with Host, we simply believe that with our reach, client relationships and capital, we can help a great agency and leadership team grow beyond Australia."

Freedman said: "In 2010 we turned ten years old as the biggest independent agency in Australia. Reaching this milestone prompted reflection on what might lie ahead for the next ten years. When Havas approached us with the same enthusiasm and belief in our business as we have, we seemed to have found the answer to that question.

"Working with Havas, we will initially explore expansion opportunities closer to home, but if they go according to plan then we will look further afield. With the support of a company like Havas, anything is possible."

PR company One Green Bean will be included in the transaction.

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