Franco-Tunisian media mogul Tarak Ben Ammar and Havas Media Group France chief exec Dominique Delport have been proposed to join the supervisory board of French media giant Vivendi. The moves, expected to be ratified and confirmed at the Vivendi shareholders’ meeting in May, represent a further consolidation of chairman Vincent Bollore’s vision for the group.
The duo will almost certainly have an impact on the future direction of Vivendi, which finds itself sitting on a war chest of billions of dollars to invest and acquire media companies following the sales of its stakes in telcos SFR in France and Maroc Telecom in Morocco, as well as video game publisher Activision Blizzard,
Ben Ammar, who first came to prominence as a film producer and attracting the likes of George Lucas to shoot Star Wars and Steven Spielberg to shoot Raiders of the Lost Ark in his native Tunisia, is a close business associate of Bollore.
Ben Ammar is a shareholder and founding board member of the Weinstein Co., as well as a board member of Telecom Italia and Italian investment bank Mediobanca, in which Bollore is a shareholder. Vivendi is also set to become a leading shareholder in Telecom Italia following its divestment of GVT to Telefonica.
Dominique Delport is global MD of Bollore-owned advertising group Havas Media Group as well as chiarman of the Havas Media Group in France and the UK. He started his career as a TV journalist and co-founded Streampower, a TV, web and mobile start-up that was eventually acquired by the Bollore Group and won an International Emmy in 2008 for Best Interactive TV Show (Cult). He also helped launch French TV channel Direct 8, now D8 and part of the Canal + group, and hosted a live weekly TV show focused on new technologies and digital disruption.
Bollore, who is poised to become the Europes most powerful media player, has streamlined Vivendi to focus on creating synergies among Canal Plus, Studio Canal and Universal Music Group, the music and media company that Vivendi also owns.
It seems inevitable the group will expand in the coming months given its cash reserves and focus on core media plays, particularly in a time of strategic consolidation in Europe as telcos and the likes of Netflix and Amazon vie for supremacy over content creation and distribution with more traditional platforms.
Bollore has previously stated he sees southern Europe and Africa as potential growth areas for Vivendi. Ben Ammar owns Eagle Pictures, one of Italy’s leading independent film distributors and Nessma TV, Tunisia’s first independent, private satellite channel. His business partner, billionaire Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris, owns ONTV, one of Egypt’s leading independent news channels.