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Havas to Buy Cendant Unit, Keep Employees

French firm Havas agreed to buy the consumer software division of Cendant Corp. for between $800 million and $1 billion. Havas’ chief executive said he did not expect to lay off any of the unit’s 3,300 employees. About 1,200 employees are based in Southern California at Knowledge Adventure and Davidson & Associates, both in Torrance, and at Irvine-based Blizzard Entertainment. “We have absolutely no plans to lay off any people,” said Eric Licoys, CEO of the Paris-based media company, a subsidiary of French utility Vivendi. “We’re buying [Cendant’s] market share, and we’re buying a team of excellent managers that we will rely on.” As long as the software group performs up to expectations, they will be allowed to operate independently, Licoys said. Havas also gained Berkeley Systems of Berkeley and Sierra On-Line of Bellevue, Wash., in the deal. Shares of Parsippany, N.J.-based Cendant rose 56 cents in New York Stock Exchange trading to close at $15.


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