Media shares up in the air

Absence of Aegis boss and Havas chief from Morgan Stanley’s conference sparks deal speculation

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It is not often that Heathrow’s air traffic control pushes up shares, but Aegis boss Jerry Buhlmann and Havas chief Fernando Rodes Vila’s absence from Morgan Stanley’s technology media and telecoms conference in Barcelona sparked deal speculation.

They were forced to pull out of WPP’s session on Wednesday, lighting the touchpaper on one of Sir Martin Sorrell’s favourite rumours.

“That must mean they are announcing a deal tomorrow morning!” said Sir Martin with glee.

While it was not clear why Mr Rodes Vila was absent, Mr Buhlmann was sitting on an aircraft ready to come out on Tuesday night when his flight was cancelled due to the fog. Aegis shares closed up 2 per cent. Publicis’s chief Maurice Levy, who was also trapped in Paris due to bad weather, might have been hoping for the Barcelona no-show uplift as well. At the end of his session made by telephone, he said: “I hope all the people in the room who are investing in airline companies will divert and buy Publicis shares.”

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